‘Byzantion’ choir gave concerts in Estonia On the 1st and 2nd of Februry 2017, members of the ‘Byzantion’ Choir gave two concerts of Psaltic music in Estonia (Tallinn and Pärnu) titled ‘Voices of the Byzantine Empire’, upon the invitation of the ‘Eesti Kontsert’ foundation. Whereas the previous editions brought on the great stages of Estonia choirs from Georgia, Egypt, Greece or Armenia, this year it was Romania’s turn to showcase its matchless treasure of Psaltic Art.
The key moment was represented by the concert held in ‘Saint Nicholas’ cathedral (14th century) – a spectacular building and a witness of the troubled history of the Estonians. The program consisted in various illustrative songs, performed in Romanian, Greek, and Slavonic. Some of the chants that carried the audience along the fascinating way of Pslatic Art were the following: the first musical Christian document, the so-called proto-Christian hymn in the Egyptian papyrus 1786 (Oxyrrynchos, 3rd century); ‘Alleluia’ and ‘The Lord reigns’ prochimemon in the paleoromaic (Old Roman chant, n. trad) style (Grecia Magna, 7th-13th century); chant of the Transfiguration of Jesus in varis tone written by St. John Koukouzelis (13th-14th century); and troparion of litya written by Petros Bereketis (first part of the 18th century). The program also included stihiras from the Presentation of the the Lord at the Temple or the ‘Legănușul’ (the ‘Swing chant’ – n.trad, 9th hymn from the Presentation of the Lord kanon).
Present in the audience were Ms Daniela Cămărășan, the Romanian Ambassador in Estonia, and the official delegation of Metropolitan Stephanos of Estonia, which lent the event a festive and solemn touch. The Metropolitan Bishop celebrated liturgy for the feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple together with the ‘Βyzantion’ choir the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple.
The surprise of the event consisted in the presence among the audience of the great Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. He is an admirer of Orthodox chants and a person whose name is strongly amplified and covered in modesty and authenticity.
The ‘Byzantion’ choir intends to give the same concert in Iași, to mark the beginning of the series of events that celebrate, in 2017, 20 years since the choir was founded.
by Adrian SÎRBU
translator Lucian Filip & Sorina Chiper