Saturday, June 03, 2017

Music from Constantinople in a Concert in Singapore

Next Saturday and Sunday, June 10th and 11th, Singapore-based ensemble Cappella Martialis will present a concert entitled “New Rome, Queen of Cities - Music from Constantinople,” at the Armenian Church of Singapore, located at 60 Hill Street. (Click here for the event page on Facebook.) Here is a video of their rehearsal of a very beautiful version of the Sanctus of the Armenian Divine Liturgy.

Highlights include: the Seikilos Epitaph, which is the earliest piece of notated music that survives complete anywhere in the world; early Byzantine chant; Medieval Spanish songs about miracles in Constantinople; an extract from the Sunday Divine Liturgy as it might have been heard in Hagia Sophia in the early 1440s before the fall of the city, including acclamations for the Emperor Constantine XI which have not been sung since 1453, specially researched from manuscripts in Athens, St Petersburg, and Mount Athos; laments for the fall of Constantinople - one in French and Latin by Guillaume Dufay, one by an anonymous author from the Greek Islands; Ottoman Turkish court music; a Ladino song from the Sephardic Jews of Asia Minor; and music by Armenian composers connected to Constantinople.

Languages used in this concert include Classical and Medieval Greek, Latin, Renaissance French, Classical Armenian, Ladino, Galician-Portuguese, Bulgarian, Ottoman and Modern Turkish. There will be program booklets with full translations of sung texts.

For this concert, Cappella Martialis will be accompanied by a panoply of appropriate instruments including harp, citole, ud, kanun/kanonaki, fiddle, shawm, recorder, dulcimer, violoncello, piano, as well as authentic Mediaeval and Turkish percussion (adufe, darbuka, bendir etc).

As usual, admission is free but there will be a retiring collection toward the upkeep of the church, which is Singapore’s oldest church and a national monument.

For those who want to know more about the music, the instruments, and Constantinople in general, there will be a short pre-concert talk at 7:30 P.M.

NOTA BENE: There will be two performances - one on Saturday 10th and one on Sunday 11th. Both at 8 P.M.

The Cappella Martialis (Latin for ‘The Tuesday Singing Group’) coalesced in 2011 as a collective of singers enthused about the lesser-known gems of the early choral tradition from the Baroque and before, particularly the Renaissance and Medieval periods. Their aim is to sing sacred music liturgically and secular music in historically-informed performance. Instruments are added as appropriate for the repertoire, and they also have a small band for Renaissance and early Baroque instrumental dance music.

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