Lent 2014 – Day 27: The old glory days

A beautiful day I wish to all of you. I leave you with a performance by the Romeiko Ensemble of a Kratima (Teri-rem) piece in 2nd tone. The chant was composed in the 14th Century by The Master of Byzantine Music St. John Koukouzelis.

If you are wondering about the costumes they are wearing, here is some explanation provided by the Romeiko Ensemble:

“In Byzantine times (330-1453), the Palace Court as well as the Great Church of Hagia Sophia sponsored master composers, such as Ioannes Kladas, Ioannes Koukouzelis, Xenos Koronis, Manuel Chrysafis alont Psalter, Byzantine liturgical lyrics (hymns) or texts of syllables which have no meaning (kratema). Chant was performed in the Great Church a capella by male choirs under the direction of the domestikos. By contrast, in the Palace Court secular music was accompanied by instruments. Byzantine music was transmitted orally via a master/apprentice relationship as well as through a neumatic notational system (parasemantiki) that describes the melodic movement through microtonal intervals (Byzantine echos) developed in 12th century. The cantors (psaltes) wore wide-brimmed hats (skiadion) or tall “bullet” hats (skaranikon) and dressed in special cloaks (kamision and phelonion) girded with a belt (sfiktourion).

This cantors’ costume tradition was lost after the Fall of Constantinople in 1453 leaving the cantor dressed only with a black robe (rason) of the Eastern Church. However, for the first time since the Fall, Yorgos Bilalis has joined forces with costume designer Fatima Lavor-Peters to recreate these Byzantine vestments as they are described in several treatises or depicted on Byzantine frescoes and manuscript miniatures.”

— Jack Rabah

Image source: http://byztex.blogspot.com/2009_09_01_archive.html

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