Saturday, December 09, 2006

Cappella Romana presents Mt. Sinai: The Frontier of Byzantium

[Thanks to a reader for forwarding this informaton for the benefit of our North American, West-Coast readers, and for our general information about yet another choral group.]

Cappella Romana presents Mt. Sinai: The Frontier of Byzantium

Date: Sunday, December 10, 2006
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: Getty Center, Harold M. Williams Auditorium

Explore the rich musical world of Saint Catherine's Monastery with this special performance from Cappella Romana, a vocal chamber ensemble dedicated to combining passion with scholarship in its exploration of the musical traditions of the Christian East and West. By presenting Slavic and Byzantine choral music in the original languages, the ensemble makes accessible two great musical traditions that are little known in the West.

For this appearance, the ensemble presents a virtuosic program of medieval chants for Saint Catherine, Christmas, and Epiphany drawn from centuries-old Greek manuscripts held at the library of Saint Catherine's. This all-new program is designed to complement the current exhibition Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons from Sinai.

[This brings up some related publications which look to be quite interesting.]

Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons from Sinai

Edited by Robert S. Nelson and Kristen M. Collins
With contributions by Thomas F. Mathews, David Jacoby, and Father Justin Sinaites. Foreword by His Eminence Archbishop Damianos of Sinai, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Saint Catherine at Sinai.

J. Paul Getty Museum
320 pages, 9 x 12 inches
168 color and 47 b/w illustrations, 2 maps
ISBN 0-89236-855-1

Isolated in the remote Egyptian desert, at the base of Mount Sinai, sits the oldest continuously inhabited monastery in the Christian world. The Holy Monastery of Saint Catherine at Sinai holds the most important collection of Byzantine icons remaining today. This catalogue, published in conjuction with the exhibition Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons from Sinai, on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum from November 14, 2006, to March 4, 2007, features forty-three of the monastery's extremely rare‹and rarely exhibited‹ icons and six manuscripts still little-known to the world at large.

The exhibition and catalogue bring to life the central role of the icon in Byzantine religious practices. Themes include the icon's status as holy object, the ways in which the icon sanctified the place of worship, and the monks' quest for the holy. The Greek Orthodox monastery at Mount Sinai not only functioned as a major pilgrimage site for centuries but was also a cultural crossroads at the center of the shifting sands of ecclesiastical and secular politics. The accompanying essays explore how the monastery's contact with the outside world, through pilgrimage, resulted in aesthetic exchanges between the monastery and Coptic, Crusader, and Islamic art and between the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic communities in Europe.

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