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Byzantium in Sound and Image
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100 Chanters performing Byzantine and Polyphony chants. Live recording

Byzantine Music
It is thte medieval sacred chant of Christian churches following the Orthodox rite. This tradition developed in Byzantium since the establishment of its capital, Constantinople, in 330 AD until its fall in 1453.

The intrinsic and string relation binding the Byzantine music to the Orthodox worship, protected it from western influences. It thus preserved its fundamental elements and purposes.

The Conservative Aspect of the Byzantine Ecclesiastic Music
The idea of a "sacred music" is inexistent in the Orthodox church. However, the church preserved the Byzantine musical tradition, for it stems from patristic heritage and the praying church throughout the ages. On the other hand, this conservatism did not prohibit its development in general. The sound development based on academic research and the respect of principles and goals of Byzantine music, enriches it and enriches the church at the same time.

Pivotal Role of the Word in the Byzantine Ecclesiastic Music
The role of Byzantine music, say the aim of tis existence, is to convey the word it holds, and to give its meaning a greater intensity. This music cannot be understood unless taken from this perspective. We note specifically, for instance, that with the rapid rhythm, the music follows the rhythms of the words, and not the opposite, even if - in most cases - the musical rhythm is broken to accomodate the lyrics; words are the only crucial element that should reach the listener.

The Absense of Musical Instruments
Byzantine music is not a romantic or sentimental music. Its aim is not to gain the empathy of the listener regarding Christ's passion and crucifixion by the Jews. The Orthodox spirituality emphasizes the clear understanding of liturgical words, and the sound terminoligal expressions. Musical instruments create a theatrical ambiance around the liturgy. Thus, the apprehension of the Orthodox church from the sympathy of the believer of the liturgy from its main purpose, which is the salvation of the believer himself. What is intended is that the listener remains inside the story, and that he/she realizes that he/she is the aim of each word chanted, so that he/she repents and proclaims the risen Jesus, the Lord of his/her life.

Our success story

At a certain stage, we chose to address people who do not attend church services. We believed that Byzantine Music has an additional role to play in our days that is the role of Evangelizing people and of attracting them to come to church.

This is why we decided to start performing on theater stages. This decision was a real challenge not only vis a vis the audience but vis a vis the traditional people who work in church as well; they were not convinced with the new role of Byzantine music. They thought that the stage may turn the performance from a prayer to a show.

Anyhow, we insisted and accepted to assume all our challenges. We were able to book the George V Theater (at Adonis- Lebanon) for free thanks to Dr. Souheil Najjar and Mr. Marwan Najjar, the famous Lebanese director. Then, for the first time in the history of the Antiochian Byzantine Music, 100 chanters from the same school of music performed together Byzantine Music in perfect harmony.

Mr. Ramzi Najjar, CEO of one of the leading advertising agencies in the MEAN region, offered us the design and printing of the professional poster of the concert.

We designed and printed a professional brochure for the concert. A large screen presenting icons related to the lyrics of the chants was installed. A huge stage for all the 100 chanters was built. And finally, a couple of Byzantine Poliphonic chants were composed for the end of the concert in order to reach all the audience who may be present at the concert.

In effect, an audience from all religions attended the concert and they all felt the mystical and spiritual dimension of the concert. The whole place was booked, and the impression of all the audience was not less then amazement.

This concert was our introduction to the Lebanese National audience.

Read the full story...

1,2. Psalm no. 97 - (00:00)
3. SEM's Address - (00:00)
4,5. Glory hymn from the Psalm Sunday Vespers - (00:00)
6,7. Christmas Kondakion - (00:00)
8,9. Christmas Berses - (00:00)
10,11. Psalm 28 - (00:00)
12,13. From the Holy Week - (00:00)
14,15. From the Holy Friday - (00:00)
16,17. Prokimenon of the Pentecost - (00:00)
18,19. Easter's ninth Ode - (01:15)
20,21. Verses from Psalms - (00:00)
22,23. Praise to St. Georges - (00:00)
24,25. Psalm 135 - (00:00)
26,27. Nonth Orde of 2 February - (00:00)
28. Praise to the Metropolitan - (00:00)

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