Tudor Choir receives rave review

Tudor Choir’s performance in Portland was attended by over 550 people. Here is the first review to appear:

On Northwest Reverb.

Sunday, March 30, 2008
Review: Tudor Choir reaches for the sublime in concert of early music

The Tudor Choir gave an outstanding concert of sacred music from Tudor England and the Sistine Chapel on Saturday evening at St. Mary’s Cathedral. For this concert, the Tudor Choir, under the direction of Doug Fullington, consisted of eleven singers although some of the pieces required fewer. The Seattle-based ensemble, presented by Portland’s Cappella Romana, made excellent use of the cathedral’s opulent acoustics and held the audience spellbound with their vocal artistry.

Most impressive was the extremely well-matched quality of the voices in this ensemble. The transition of tone from singer to singer was absolutely seamless. For example, among the sopranos, it was impossible to tell which one was singing unless you actually looked at them. With so few singers, it is usually easy to distinguish one voice from another, because each voice typically has enough unique character to help reveal who is singing what. Yet The Tudor Choir easily made eight voices sound like four whenever two voices were on a part, and that gave their sound an ethereal quality.

Superb also was the purity of the vocal line. Whether separate or together, the ensemble delivered a smooth, pure, and rounded tone with no vibrato. The tone never sounded harsh or sterile, and the overall effect was entrancing. All of the pieces were sung a capella, and there were no pitch problems at all – a remarkable feat when you consider the difficulty of this music.

The first half of the program consisted of music from Tudor England. The first piece was Loquebantur variis linguis (Speaking in different tongues) by Thomas Tallis (c. 1505-1585), which is a vespers response to the theme of Pentecost. The music imitates the babble of voices with lots of tricky entrances and clashing harmonics. The Tudor Choir handled this number easily and displayed a near-perfect blend between all of the parts.

The high quality of blend and purity of vocal line was exhibited by the ensemble also in Quemadmodum desiderat cervus (As the deer longs for) by John Taverner (c. 1490-1545), Super flumina Babylonis (By the waters of Babylon) by Philippe de Monte (1521-1603), and in three pieces by William Byrd (1539/40-1623): Miserere mei (Have mercy on me), Quomodo cantabimus conticum Domini (How will we sing the Lord’s song), and Laudibus in sanctis (In holy praises). Here and there the sopranos were too dominant, but their tone was so gorgeous that it didn’t matter.

The second half of the concert began with Allegri’s Miserere mei, Deus, one of the most difficult pieces in the choral repertory because of the repeated high C for the soprano in the quartet. Since this piece was written for two ensembles, the Tudor Choir split in half with five voices in front of the audience and four at our backs.

The soprano did very well with the high Cs, which she hit spot on the first three times. She did a big scoop to get the fourth high C, and she climbed three steps to get the last one. These last two variations were apparently done differently as additional ornamentation. They struck me as a bit odd, but the overall effect of the music was tremendously gratifying and the audience responded with sustained applause.

The final pieces on the program were five works by Giovanni Perluigi da Palestrina (1525-1594) whose work is seen by musicologists as a summation of Renaissance polyphony. The ensemble sang Palestrina’s Tue es Petrus (You are Peter), Sicut cervus desiderat (As the deer longs for), Alma redemptoris mater (Gracious Mother of the Redeemer), his Magnificat for double choir, and his Nunc Dimittis for double choir. The Tudor Choir performed each of these pieces with grace and clarity. The blend seemed to get better, because the sopranos backed off a little bit and the middle voices came out a little more.

After an extended round of applause, in which it was clear that no one in the audience wanted to leave, The Tudor Choir exquisitely performed Libera Nos, Salva Nos by John Shepherd (1512-1563). Another long round of applause followed, but the listeners were faced with the fact that this splendid concert was finally over. Let’s hope that Tudor Choir makes another visit to Portland in the near future.
Posted by James Bash at 10:29 PM

The Tudor Choir is coming

This March, The Tudor Choir returns to Portland for the first time in eight years. Check out their program, samples from their recent CD, and ticket information here.

Alexander Lingas and John M. Boyer presenting at the Axion Estin Symposium in New York

This week, the Axion Estin Foundation is holding its second conference in New York with the title “Building a Byzantine Choir.” Both Dr. Alexander Lingas and John M. Boyer will be key contributors to the event.

Dr. Alexander Lingas will be assisting Lycourgos Angelopoulos in his three-day workshop entitled “Building a Byzantine Choir”. Dr. Lingas will translate the sessions from Greek to English and offer brief background information if necessary.

John M. Boyer was commissioned by the National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians to transcribe all the music scores which will be used in the symposium into western notation and to accompany the original Greek text with English phonetics.

Audio and video of the last symposium may be found here, including a short presentation by Alexander Lingas.

Arctic Light Sells out in Portland

We’re thrilled to report a full sell-out in Portland of our program ARCTIC LIGHT, with nearly 700 in attendance.

If you missed the show, but would like to purchase a CD of some of this music, visit our website for some specially imported CDs of Finnish Orthodox Music.

Friday concert to sell out

The Portland concert of ARCTIC LIGHT is going to sell out, so we have opened the balcony and transept seating for overflow as required. These seats have an obstructed view.

To have the best experience for Friday night’s concert, bear in mind that parking is limited around St. Mary’s Cathedral. Please come early, and use the lots within a few blocks of the cathedral. Also, restrooms are limited at St. Mary’s, so please consider, for your convenience, using a restroom before arriving at the cathedral.

Arctic Light Dress Rehearsal on YouTube

Dress rehearsal with Fr. Ivan Moody at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Portland, Oregon, January 9, 2008.

Ivan Moody visits music composition class

In addition to working with the concert choir, Ivan Moody discussed composition with students from Oregon Episcopal School. The visit was hosted by Adam Steele, singer in Cappella Romana and on the music faculty at Oregon Episcopal School.

Tickets going fast for ARCTIC LIGHT

There are still a few of the best seats still available for the concerts of Arctic Light: Finnish Orthodox Music, but they are selling quickly.

Order your tickets to ARCTIC LIGHT today at Brown Paper Tickets, 800-838-3006, or online at www.brownpapertickets.com.

More information about Arctic Light.

Fr. Ivan Moody concelebrates at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church

Fr. Ivan Moody (second from the right) concelebrated the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church on Sunday morning, January 6, 2008. In addition to serving the liturgy, Fr. Ivan participated in the feast of Theophany, the Baptism of Christ in the River Jordan, which culminated in the service of the Blessing of the Water.

Later, during a post-liturgy discussion, Fr. Ivan explained (among other things, such as his home in Portugal and parochial responsibilities there) that he is a composer, and that one of his latest compositions is a Tuba concerto, which seemed to mystify a number of people in the room who perhaps expected that he only wrote music for church services!

Arctic Light rehearsals begin

Fr. Ivan Moody has arrived from Portugal for a week-long residency with Cappella Romana. Here Fr. Ivan is shown conducting Cappella Romana in rehearsal, at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in its new Hellenic American Cultural Center. (http://www.hellenicamericancc.org/)