A Greek chorus

There’s been a lot of trolling this week, soul-sucking dead-behind-the-eyes stuff, but whether intentional or simply re-broadcast by unthinking individuals, the dehumanizing end result is the same.

ioannes1How to stay grounded?

Shall we return to the Lenten season? Here is an hour of Byzantine chanting, and while not specifically for the Lenten season, it is the work of 13th century Greek composer Ioannis Papadopoulos Koukouzelis, performed by the Greek Byzantine Choir of Athens, under the direction of Lykourgos Angelopoulos.

Koukouzèlis is one of the most honored names in the history of Greek music, and he is also a saint of the Orthodox Church. He was not only a composer, but also a theoretician and a maestor (master of music) at the imperial palace of Constantinople. His music is characterized by the new kalophonic, melismatic and complex style. It was also at this time that the Kratimes appeared. These are meaningless syllables (“te-ri-rem”, “me-ne-na”, etc.), sung in place of a poetic text to express the impossibility of understanding God. This psalmody creates a psalmody similar to that of the angels in the sky. The absolute music of the Byzantine period….When the fusion of poetry of texts and music reaches sublime.

The Saint Ioannis chants:

Here are some Arabic Greek Orthodox hymns that are specifically for the Great Lent from the Tripoli & Koura Choir, Lebanon.

More Saint Ioannis bio here:

It looks like Saint Ioannis (John) Koukouzeles may have collaborated on the production of a musical manuscript with a woman before retiring to his monastery:

The biography of John Koukouzeles has been pieced together painstakingly by Williams (13). The son a of Slavic mother, he attracted imperial attention for his outstanding voice, and was brought to school in Constantinople by Andronicus II, probably in about 1290. He seems to have studied music under John Glykys here, and became the most outstanding of a group of composers who helped to transform Byzantine liturgical practice in the first half of the fourteenth century. His name appears for the first time in (ms.) Leningrad 121, he is cited a a composer in Sinai 1256, and in Sinai 1257 of 1332 he is referred to as « Master ». By this time, he had withdrawn from the capital to the monastery of the Great Lavra on Mount Athos, and here he lived on to a great and venerable age. The date of his departure from Constantinople is not certain ; apparently, it came before Andronicus II’s abdication in 1328. It probably did not come as early as 1309, however, if he cooperated at this time with a woman on the production of a musical manuscript.

Even if Eirene’s Heirmologion is simply copied, as Williams would have it, from a book by Koukouzeles, it is most likely that she would have found this book in Constantinople, where Koukouzeles was until his departure for Mount Athos, and where his musical career took its decisive shape. Certainly if — as this note would have it — the two cooperated on Sinai 1256, it would have been in Constantinople. This, then, would be where Eirene was when her famous father died. Eirene’s father may well have been an itinerant person, and his end does not necessarily cast light on his origins and middle age. By his death if not earlier, however, it seems likely from the work of his daughter that he had come, as Turyn hinted, to the very « center of the empire. » Dallas (Texas) Annemarie Weyl Carr Southern Methodist University

From here.
St. Ioannis Papadopoulos Koukouzelis (ca. 1270 – ca. 1340)

“Once an imperial musician and later an Athonite monk, Ioannis is perhaps the greatest figure of the Psaltic Art.  He was the disciple of John Protopsaltis the Sweet and a fellow student of Xenos of Koroni.  These three composers along with Nikeforos Ethikos constitute the “tetrandria” that solidified the new kalophonic style of ecclesiastical music[11].  The defining characteristics of this style, which had its beginnings in the late 13th century, are (i) long, melismatic melodies, (ii) restructuring of the poetic text, and (iii) insertion of kratimata, i.e. free compositions using meaningless syllables (e.g. terirem, tenena, tototo, etc.) as “text.”  Koukouzelis’ name first makes its appearance in MS. Leningrad 121 written in 1302.  The admiration of contemporary and later musicians for the great composer is shown by the title “Maistor” (i.e. Master) that almost unfailingly follows his name.  It was probably under his guidance that one of the most significant manuscripts in the history of the Psaltic Art, namely MS. Athens 2458, was composed in 1336.  The Orthodox Church celebrates his memory on October 1.”



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