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’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