MusicWeb International Reviews Good Friday In Jerusalem

Good Friday In Jerusalem: Medieval Byzantine Chant from the Church of the Holy SepulchreMusicWeb International critic Garry Higginson recalls his own Holy Week in Jerusalem experience while listening to Cappella Romana’s new Good Friday in Jerusalem recording:

“Jerusalem was filled with people of all nations, as befits a city of pilgrimage. Droves of superior-looking tourists who had come to gaze curiously on the rites of the Eastern Church were queerly mixed with humble Eastern Christians. That was in 1984 when I was there for what turned out to be a richly memorable week.

I was told that if I wanted to witness the Greek ceremony of the feet washing I should rise at 5.00 am and join the crowds for the 8:00 am start that was eventually 9.00 am. It was here that I first heard what we could call Byzantine chant. The singing was steadily and rhythmically paced to match the slow procession of Copts and Egyptian Christians walking out of the church of the Holy Sepulchre where they had been chanting and praying for an hour before. It is quite unlike the free and liquid movement of Gregorian chant — utterly unforgettable. The church bell, which rang later, had a haunting rhythm and tone quality, which I can still recall.

Listening to this CD especially during this Holy Week (2015) has brought it all back and the helpful diagram of the basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in the booklet reminds me of the astounding church which dominates the area. …” —Gary Higginson, MusicWeb International

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