Audiophile Audition Gives Five Stars to Hymns of Kassianí

Audiophile Audition gives a five-star review to Cappella Romana’s Hymns of Kassianí recording:

“Kassia is especially known for one particular piece, the Hymn of Kassiani, so-called because of its placement in the orthros (matins) service of Holy Wednesday. It is a masterly composition of great pathos, commemorating the harlot who anointed the feet of Jesus and washed his hair with her tears, found in the gospel of Matthew. … But Kassia may have nearly 50 hymns in the repertory, with some attributed to other composers. This disc seeks to correct the perception that her only contribution is this holy week effort… The music itself has undergone many changes over the years according to the time and place of its use, but the beauty and obvious devotional qualities are very easy to apprehend. Those interested in something liturgically unique and different from the multitudinous bad recordings of Gregorian chant will find this refreshing and eye-opening. Kassia is definitely a composer to be reckoned with. Cappella Romana continues to turn out sensational recordings that are state-of-the-art in sound quality. This one has breadth, depth, warmth, and a phenomenal surround quality resonating with a physically palpable and penetrating effect that places you in the middle of an acoustically marvelous church. Alexander Lingas offers excellent, in-depth notes on many aspects of the life of Kassia and her music, and directs the ensemble (men, women, both together) in a performance of clarity and technical wizardry. This is a landmark recording that will still retain its importance for many years to come.

—Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition

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