Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Akathistos Hymn and the Veneration of the Cross




Ο Ακάθιστος Ύμνος και η Σταυροπροσκύνηση
The Akathistos Hymn and the Veneration of the Cross
Live recordings 1983, in the vicinity of the Constantinople Patriarchate
Published by the Hellenic Cultural Centre in London and printed by:
EMI Greece S.A. - OCP 106 - 7, (2LP) - P. 1984






Here is a very special recording brought to my attention by my friend Costis. He made the rip and all the photos and served me this on a plate to share with you. I have been listening since I got it and I find it thoroughly mind cleansing. Settling down, floating with the singing, I begin to travel in my mind and what can be better when it lasts for almost two full hours.

So what is the Akathistos Hymn and the Veneration of the Cross?




The Akathist Hymn is a profound, devotional poem, which sings the praises of the Holy Mother and Ever-Virgin Mary. It is one of the most beloved services in the Orthodox Church. It was composed in the imperial city of Constantinople, "the city of the Virgin," by St. Romanos the Melodist, who reposed in the year 556. The Akathist Hymn has proven so popular in the liturgical life of the Church that many other hymns have been written following its format. These include Akathists to Our Lord Jesus Christ, to the Cross, and to many Saints.
read more here


The Veneration of the Cross is counted as one of the great feasts of the Lord. On the Third Sunday of Great and Holy Lent, the Orthodox Church commemorates the Precious and Life-Giving Cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Services include a special veneration of the Cross, which prepares the faithful for the commemoration of the Crucifixion during Holy Week.
read more here


The full text in Greek and English is included in the 20 page folder that accompanies the two records!



About the Recording.

To record the third part of the Salutations in the church of the Mother of God at Blachernae on the morning of Friday, 8 April 1983, and the Veneration of the Cross on Sunday 10 April, in the Patriarchal Church, we set up a mobile Studio with two Revox A77 tape recorders and five and
seven microphones respectively, on BASF Professional tapes. Technical direction was by Studio Marsandiz of Constantinople; recording was by Efendi Esad Kiral, and control and direction of the recording by Grigoris Stathis.

Following a tradition which we have mentioned, for the third part of the Salutations at Blachernae the Patriarch attended with Protopresbyter Panayiotis Tsinaras, the great archdeacon Kyrillos, deacon Meliton and the Patriarchal choirs.

Choir I: Protopsaltes Vasileios Nikolaidis, First Domestikos Ioannis Chariatidis, Georgios Georgiadis and three boys.

Choir 2: Lampadarios Vasileios Emmanuilidis, Michael Soungalis, Georgios Tyrovolis and one boy.

The main assistant singers in the Patriarchal Church on the Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross were: Georgios Georgiadis, P. Dafnoudelis, K. Aivatoglou, I. lordanoglou, and the boys Ioakim Pouliaris and Stylianos Flikos; - N. Sevsevmes, P. Diniakos, and the boys Michael Karanikolas and K. Stamatelis.

Clergy: The Veneration of the Cross is counted as one of the great feasts of the Lord, and according to the patriarchal Typikon it should be celebrated by the Secretary-in-Chief. The celebrant was the secretary-in-Chief of the Holy Synod, Archimandrite Philippos Kapetanakis; the deacons were the under-secretary lakovos Sophroniadis and the officiating deacon Meliton. The Patriarch officiated, with the bishops of the Throne.

In accordance with the Typikon, the service of the Salutations was joined to the Liturgy of the Presanctified, since it took place in the morning. It should be noted that all the melodies were chanted in a simple reading of the oikoi by the Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios. The melodic
elaboration and variations in scale used by most priests in Greece lead to excesses, and stray far from the sober reading of the oikoi. Even in the melismatic form, chiefly the masterly setting of the whole Akathistos by Ioannis Kladas (c. 1400), we find only modes IV and II plagal. The version of 'To thee our leader' is a shortened form of the 'ancient' melody of the
fifteenth and seventeenth centuries; only the line 'set me free from every peril' uses the full ancient melody. As for the asmatic Trisagion, the 'Holy God' at the Veneration of the Cross, we have to say that this is a new composition which scarcely even echoes the majestic, imposing and slow composition of Manuel Chrysaphis (c. 1453). We should note, however, that no contemporary psaltes sing this old melody unaltered.

The patriarchal choirs were not large, but thanks to the care of the Photospaltes and Lampadarios they proved adequate, particularly in keeping the ison. On this recording, the melody is sung by the Protopsaltes Vasileios Nikolaidis and the Lampadarios Vasileios Emmanuilidis.

Hope you also find comfort in these precious recordings.

Thank you Costis!


It is important to mention that these are among the few remaining recordings of the late Vassilios Nikolaidis (1915 - 1985), the last one in a series of great chanters of the Patriarchate of constantinople (present day Istanbul) which was the undisputed centre of Greek church chanting for centuries and centuries. Vassilios Emmanouilidis, the left (secondary) chanter, also resigned soon after these recordings took place.


Thank you again Costis, for the clarification on the chanters!















7 comments:

drygianakis said...

It is important to mention that these are among the few remaining recordings of the late Vassilios Nikolaidis (1915 - 1985), the last one in a series of great chanters of the Patriarchate of constantinople (present day Istanbul) which was the undisputed centre of Greek church chanting for centuries and centuries. Vassilios Emmanouilidis, the left (secondary) chanter, also resigned soon after these recordings took place.

Enjoy!

bolingo69 said...

Dear Mr Drygianakis!

I will add your most valuable comment to the main text of the post! Thank you for pointing this out and for any further help!


bo

bamsalakadi said...

I spent the morning listening to this. Truly wonderful music. Thanks to you and your friend for sharing this, bolingo!

Brian said...

Does this tradition still continue? It would be a tragedy if it doesn't. I had a difficult day, but one listen has ironed out the entire day's effects.

Thank you!

drygianakis said...

It does. But it's not always easy to find recordings of this quality in the marketplace. These three albums of the Patriarchate, published in the mid-80's have long ago disappeared, but a double CD from Mount Athos, (re)published by Deutche Grammophone in the mid-90's, must be still available.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information, drygianakis. I'll look for that double CD. This recording has inspired my interest to know more about these church traditions.

Brian

kibol34 said...

Hi I've found Akathistos Hymn And The Veneration Of The Cross vinyl record in my collection which was released in 1983, does anyone have a clue what the actual value of that record is?
Sleeve condition is very good, vinyls condition excellent. Anyone?