Cappella Romana Joins PBO for Handel’s Messiah

December 7-10, 2018, Cappella Romana joins Portland Baroque Orchestra in Portland’s only annual production of Handel’s Messiah on period instruments. The performance will feature guest-director and harpsichordist Desmond Earley, soprano Miriam Allan, mezzo-soprano Laura Beckel Thoreson, tenor Nils Neubert, and bass-baritone William Gaunt. Learn more at PBO.org

On #GivingTuesday, your gift will be doubled!

Cappella Romana in performance with Giving Tuesday logo at the top
Cappella Romana in performance with Giving Tuesday logo at the top

It’s #GivingTuesday, and we know all will be receiving many appeals to support the great work non-profits do in our communities.

NEWS FLASH: Today we received word that the Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund will match your gift made before Dec. 31. Your gift will be doubled!

At Cappella Romana, giving is a year-round activity, and we appreciate your support of music that touches you deeply.

a truly spiritual experience

a beautiful evening of breathtaking music

the sound was spellbinding

Cappella Romana is a gift to the community and to the world of sacred music

—Cappella Romana patrons in 2018

With your generous support, Cappella Romana will continue its mission to bring you the transcendent music of the Christian East and West.

Give today and your gift will be matched!

Thank you for your support!

Mark Powell, Executive Director

The SunBreak Reviews “They Are At Rest”

Cappella Romana: They Are At Rest at St. Mark's Cathedral in Seattle
Cappella Romana: They Are At Rest at St. Mark's Cathedral in Seattle

Portland’s Cappella Romana stepped away from its usual programming of Orthodox chant Friday night to sing a concert of music remembering the Armistice of 1918 and what it meant to the survivors. This was not by any means a rejoicing for the Armistice, but nor was it one of sorrow and anguish for the dead and wounded…Rather it was a somber one of consolation and also of hope for the resurrection of the dead.

Hearing this music exquisitely and expressively sung in the ambiance and acoustics of St. Mark’s Cathedral was already an emotional experience.…The result here was intensely eloquent, perhaps even more so for those of us who grew up in Europe right after WWII with losses surrounding us. The sound of Cappella Romana in [Vaughan Williams’ ‘My Soul, there is a country…’] could have come from King’s College, Cambridge.”

—Philippa Kiraly, The SunBreak

See the full review on TheSunBreak.com

Oregon Arts Watch Review for “A Song of Creation”

Cappella Romana performing Heaven and Earth: A Song of Creation at St. Mary's in Portland.
Cappella Romana performing Heaven and Earth: A Song of Creation at St. Mary's in Portland.

Cappella Romana’s performance…was an electrifying, bristlingly intense superabundance of laser-beam monody and…florid counterpoint in the Eastern Orthodox style. … Here, the modern music was a vivid variety of sacred choral music by contemporary composers Matthew Arndt, John Michael Boyer, Alexander Khalil, Kurt Sander, Richard Toensing, and Tikey Zes. The six composers, according to the program, “found common musical language in their experience as practicing liturgical musicians in the Orthodox Church.” Let’s pause right there: these are all Orthodox Christian composers who work as church musicians, meaning these guys have the same basic professional profile as Johann Sebastian Bach—and there are a half dozen of them, all working together. It shows. … After intermission, Boyer—not just a composer but also a singer in the group and its newly anointed Associate Music Director—led the singers in his own music… I was immediately taken with Boyer’s compositional voice (his physical voice, too). And it’s always extra fun to discover a whole crew of composers all at once. Les Six. The Second Viennese School. The Original Minimalists. But like those schools—and happily for listeners who appreciate variety—this group isn’t interested in imposing its orthodoxy, only sharing it through music.”

Read the full review on OrArtsWatch.org

The Oregonian Features “They Are At Rest”


The Oregonian interviews Cappella Romana executive director Mark Powell for a feature on our They Are At Rest series:

Cappella Romana appears to be the only professional artistic organization in Portland giving a performance commemorating the 100th anniversary of World War I’s end.

“This is the right thing for us to do,” Mark Powell, Cappella Romana’s executive director, said. “The poetry and the texts in these pieces really cause one to reflect on the reality of war and what the real cost is. We’ve (become) very desensitized, I think, particularly with technology and drone warfare and all these things.”

Read the piece on OregonLive.com

They are at Rest

9 & 11 Nov, 2018

Seattle and Portland

MORE INFORMATION

They Are At Rest – Program Notes

Guy Protheroe

They are at Rest: A Remembrance of the 1918 Armistice

Guy Protheroe

Guy Protheroe

At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, an armistice was signed which brought to a close the greatest human conflict so far known to man. What had begun as a border dispute in the Balkan States of South-Eastern Europe in 1914, expected to last but a few weeks, had engulfed not only all the great powers of Europe but had also drawn into the conflict the United States, the British self-governing colonies of Canada and Australia, Japan, China and even South American states such as Brazil and Peru. Four years of trench warfare fought on the fields of Europe had practically wiped out a generation of young men with scenes of carnage scarcely believable to those waiting at home for news of their loved ones.

The Armistice was signed by representatives of Germany on one side, and Allies represented by France and Britain on the other. However, one of the prime movers in the negotiations to end the war was President Wilson of the USA. It will be for historians rather than musicians to debate whether the punitive conditions imposed on Germany in the subsequent Treaty of Versailles sowed the seeds for the Nationalistic ideals which brought to power Hitler in Germany and Mussolini in Italy, and led to the catastrophic events of the Second World War.

In contrast, the early years of the 20th century, up to 1914, saw a flowering of artistic creativity in a Europe which is now regarded as the end of an era. As the British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey commented in August 1914: “the lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”

They are at Rest

9 & 11 Nov, 2018

Seattle and Portland

TICKETS

In Britain, in the period before 1914, there was something of a resurgence of musical talent, with composers such as Elgar, Parry and Stanford, supported by an affluent society enjoying a thriving economy and in a position to provide patronage. The same sort of thing was going on in France and elsewhere in Europe. And it was not confined to music: the visual arts too were enjoying something of a boom, and the decorative arts were giving us Art Nouveau houses and furniture, and the most wonderful textiles and fashions which had, in England at least, blossomed after the period of mourning for the passing of Queen Victoria (when everything had to be black!). One can only speculate on what our predecessors might have enjoyed if the lights had not gone out.

While the USA played a hugely important part in both World Wars, as allies of the Western European powers, being geographically situated across the Ocean its population did not experience the same degree of deprivation and destruction as did its European neighbours.

When planning tonight’s programme we looked first, unsurprisingly, at works written in Britain to commemorate the Armistice and the bringing of peace. In fact, there seems to be very little directly composed in celebration of the Armistice. After four years of such bloody conflict it appears there was little appetite for anything that could be described as celebratory. And of course armistices generally happen at short notice so you do not have lots of composers gearing up to write something, as you might have for a Royal Wedding!

Edward Elgar, who was Master of the King’s Music at the time, spent most of 1918 writing wonderfully introspective chamber music (possibly also being clinically depressed) and apparently decided not to attend the victory celebrations in London but instead retired to his cottage in Sussex.

What we do have is some wonderful music written either during the war years, or shortly before and afterwards, which reflects the response of composers to the changing times in which they were living. The pieces we include which were written beforehand were still being regularly performed during the war years, and those written later were inspired by the tragic circumstances of the war years.

—By Guy Protheroe & Ann Manly Protheroe

They are at Rest

9 & 11 Nov, 2018

Seattle and Portland

MORE INFORMATION

KING FM Northwest Focus features They Are At Rest

They are at Rest: A Remembrance of the 1918 Armistice

They are at Rest: A Remembrance of the 1918 Armistice
In the lead up to our They Are At Rest series, Seattle’s KING FM will be previewing the performance on the Northwest Focus program Monday-Thursday of next week (11/5-8/2018).

Date

Time

Music

Monday, November 5
8:08pm
Parry: Songs of Farewell – There is an old belief

 

Tuesday, November 6
8:02pm
Parry: Songs of Farewell – I know my soul hath power

 

Wednesday, November 7
9:14pm
Parry: Songs of Farewell – My soul, there is a country

 

Thursday, November 8
8:22pm
Parry: Songs of Farewell – Never, weather-beaten sail

 

They are at Rest

9 & 11 Nov, 2018

Seattle and Portland

MORE INFORMATION

The History of the Remembrance Poppy

They are at Rest: A Remembrance of the 1918 Armistice

During Cappella Romana’s They Are At Rest performances in Seattle (Nov. 9) and Portland (Nov. 11), the singers will be wearing poppies supplied by the American Legion – and will make them available to audience members – so we thought we’d look back at the “History of the Poppy” as set out by the Royal British Legion:

“During the First World War (1914–1918) much of the fighting took place in Western Europe. Previously beautiful countryside was blasted, bombed and fought over, again and again. The landscape swiftly turned to fields of mud: bleak and barren scenes where little or nothing could grow.

Bright red Flanders poppies (Papaver rhoeas) however, were delicate but resilient flowers and grew in their thousands, flourishing even in the middle of chaos and destruction. In early May 1915, shortly after losing a friend in Ypres, a Canadian doctor, Lt Col John McCrae was inspired by the sight of poppies to write a now-famous poem called In Flanders Fields.

McCrae’s poem inspired an American academic, Moina Michael, to make and sell red silk poppies which were brought to England by a French woman, Anna Guérin. The (Royal) British Legion, formed in 1921, ordered 9 million of these poppies and sold them on 11 November that year. The poppies sold out almost immediately and that first ever ‘Poppy Appeal’ raised over £106,000; a considerable amount of money at the time. This was used to help WW1 veterans with employment and housing.”

Read more about the history at BritishLegion.org.uk

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders’ fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders’ fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high,
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders’ Fields.

They are at Rest

9 & 11 Nov, 2018

Seattle and Portland

MORE INFORMATION

Ivor Gurney: “Since I Believe”

Ivor Gurney

They are at Rest: A Remembrance of the 1918 Armistice
Choir & Organ Magazine has a wonderful feature on the recent publication of Ivor Gurney’s Since I Believe in God the Father Almighty Motet. Cappella Romana is excited to be giving the North American premiere performance on our They Are At Rest series November 9 and 11, 2018:

Ivor Gurney

“Photograph of Ivor Gurney,” by Hall, R.. First World War Poetry Digital Archive

“Composed in June 1925, the motet for unaccompanied double choir sets a poem by the then Poet Laureate, Robert Bridges, which speaks of faith in the face of adversity. While Gurney is well known as a composer of song and as a poet of the first world war, he also composed in other forms. During the last decade, his orchestral works have been brought to recording and broadcast; his surviving chamber works have been trickling their way out of the archive, and likewise his few extant choral and organ works. … Since I Believe is a rare survivor. It was written in the asylum, where Gurney would spend the last 15 years of his life; for this reason it has been overlooked and – as with the numerous other missing late works – the manuscript likely destroyed. The motet survived only because a copy of the score was made for a possible try-through of the piece by the choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, at the behest of Robert Bridges. … Whether this was ever achieved is unknown, but the piece was brought out of the archive by Philip Lancaster and given its first known performance by Gloucester Cathedral Choir, conducted by Adrian Partington, in 2012. … The two choirs at times shift against each other like tectonic plates, sometimes strange and uncompromising, but powerfully, melting with touching beauty into silence. The poem speaks of cherishing freedom of belief, but, from one incarcerated without hope, we can’t help but hear a vain desire for freedom from captivity.”

Choir & Organ Magazine

Read the full feature online

They are at Rest

9 & 11 Nov, 2018

Seattle and Portland

MORE INFORMATION

Cappella Romana and Third Angle New Music share historic downtown workspace

PORTLAND, OR— The sounds of music, from medieval chant to math rock, are ringing out from a single set of offices in the Gus J. Solomon U.S. Courthouse in Portland, Oregon. Third Angle New Music is delighted to announce that it has established its new office in the top floor of the former courthouse, subleased to them by their friends Cappella Romana Vocal Ensemble. Since 2016, Cappella Romana has been housed in the 1932 Renaissance Revival-style courthouse, downtown across from the Newmark Theatre and the Schnitzer Concert Hall.

Cappella Romana and Third Angle have joined forces on projects such as Steve Reich: Music for 18 & Proverb, Frozen Music III: Light and Music in Alvar Aalto’s Library and most recently the Arvo Pärt Festival, but they’ve never collaborated like this before. Now the two will be sharing work space and conference rooms—and coffee supplies!—both looking forward to what new cooperative and cross marketing ideas will hatch from this fresh collaborative environment.

While the building is currently home to a variety of federal agencies as well as lawyers and non-profits, its courtrooms have primarily been used as film locations in the last few years. Robert De Niro, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Timothy Hutton have all fought for fictional justice in the courtrooms here, now to be used as well for rehearsals, meetings, or events by either organization.

Mark Powell, Executive Director of Cappella Romana, explains, “Because a number of organizations have helped us in our history—and we welcomed Pacific Youth Choir into the building last year—we thought it again right to pay it forward by assisting Third Angle, whose work we admire and with whom we’ve collaborated many times.” In reply, Lisa Volle, the Third Angle Executive Director quipped “It is with great pride that we graciously accepted the offer to be roomies with Cappella Romana. Thank you, Mark Powell, for offering us a home in the nexus of art and culture in Portland, Oregon.”