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A celebration/repository of Oriental Orthodox recordings without unnatural added reverb!

Discussion in 'The Voice In The Desert - Oriental Orthodox' started by dzheremi, Jan 25, 2019.

  1. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

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    Exactly what it sounds like. I'll be adding more periodically as I find them. These should be the standard in all of our churches (and it has been in every church and monastery I've personally been to, though I guess that doesn't mean much), but for some reason the Copts and to a lesser extent some of the Syriacs seem to love to add reverb to things (strangely, to things that tend to be demonstration recordings...maybe they think it makes them easier to hear/focus on?). Ugh. I haven't seen this tendency among the Armenians or the Orthodox Tewahedo.

    So this will be a thread for 'natural' recordings, which we need to make good examples of so that the over-reliance on fake reverb will hopefully die out in the coming generation, just like the unthinking embrace of western art forms and so on. (I'd make a thread on traditional OO icons if there were enough good examples to display...)

    The Sunday Theotokia of the Midnight Praises (Tasbeha) in the Coptic Orthodox tradition:


    Prayed in Coptic and English by the "Heritage of the Coptic Orthodox Church Choir"

    A selection of chants from the Beth Gazo (Syriac Orthodox treasury of chants, mostly dated back to and attributed to St. Ephrem the Syrian):



    I don't speak Syriac, but the uploader has provided the following titles: 1.Hal Bethelhem 2. Byarho deshto 3. Dahbo dawfir u kife 4.Meshtutho hwot aykano damir 5 Woyli Ahay 6. Hal Beth dino 7. Qroleh Moryo 8. hal Beth Hanyo Qritho hobar with. 9. Qroeh Moryo Lmushe Bar Amram (gnizo)

    There is no information on who is chanting this, but I know that their previous patriarch HH Moran Mor Ignatius Jacob III (r. 1957-1980) recorded the Beth Gazo (perhaps in its entirety? I've only been able to find it in pieces like this), so it's possible this is from that recording.

    Evening prayer in the Malankara Syriac Orthodox seminary in Kottayam...finally, a legitimate reason to have a bit of echo!



    And although I've written above that I haven't noticed this tendency among the Armenians, while we're on the general topic of how hymns shouldn't be full of distracting nonsense, I still think one thing the Syriac Indians (and some Syriac Orthodox, too, since I know at least one of their churches in Canada uses an organ, somehow) could learn from them is their very tasteful use of the organ, as in the following recordings by the choir of Holy Etchmiadzin:



    They almost use it like an 'ison-producing' machine, if I've got the right terminology. It's rather quiet and in the background, only being really noticeable in pauses or at the end of phrases, as it follows the melody in very general terms with long, sustained notes, rather than driving the melody itself, whereas the keyboard among the Syriac Indians is often very distracting, at least to people like me whose churches don't use melody-producing instruments at all. And at least some of the Indian Orthodox Malakarans I've talked to online (as I have not had the honor of worshiping with any yet) say the same thing: we ought to ditch the chintzy-sounding keyboards and have regular chants only. After hearing them and comparing them to an a capella liturgy, I can't disagree.



    A brief look at the Pascha service at St. Mary Indian Orthodox Church in Chicago, IL 2012, celebrated by Fr. Aju Matthews. How on earth could anyone put keyboard on top of that? It boggles the mind.
     
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  2. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

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    Doxologies for the Coptic month of Kiahk (December 10-January 8), popularly known as "St. Mary's month" wherein praises are sung to the Theotokos using melodies unique to that time, prayed by Anba Antonios and the monks of the monastery of St. Anthony on the Red Sea in Egypt:

     
  3. TheLostCoin

    TheLostCoin A Lonesome Coin Supporter

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    Wow.

    While the language is completely different, it actually kind of give me chills how similar in style this chant sounds to some varieties of Russian liturgical chant. If you told me that this was a Russian Orthodox Chant, and put it in a video with Russian icons, I would probably believe you.

    The only thing different is the Pipe Organ in the background and the language itself.

    Just compare:

     
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  4. Mary of Bethany

    Mary of Bethany Only one thing is needful. Supporter

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    I was recently listening to Armenian services and noticed the same thing about the use of the organ. I’m not sure why they feel the need for the organ at all, but it is used much like an ison.

    I really love the sound of their chant. Really beautiful!

    When our Archbishop came to celebrate the Liturgy in our new temple last month, the local Armenian priest and his Bishop attended. (Bishop Daniel I believe.). It was so nice to have them with us!
     
  5. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

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    I'm not sure what the story is with Armenians and the organ. Maybe one of our Armenian members like @ArmenianJohn has some info? I have noted that they do not seem to use it at all in the Armenian Patriarchate in Jerusalem, for instance, which makes me think that it's probably a more recent addition to their services, though I can't pin down its introduction to any one time period or person due to my own shameful ignorance of Armenian Church history.

    While I don't usually mind the way they use the organ, unaccompanied Armenian chant may be my favorite so far of all OO varieties. It's very strong without being reedy as Coptic chant can sometimes be, due to the Coptic preference for the higher register (the Ethiopians are like this too, for what I've observed, even though their chant is obviously very unique).



    Armenian chanting at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. I realize I am biased, but it is absolutely electrifying to me, even without knowing the language.

    (The organ that you can hear in parts of the video appears to be from Roman Catholic or other celebrations taking place in their parts of the Church, since it doesn't match the timing or melody of the chants at all, and anyway sounds rather distant.)
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
  6. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

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    I rediscovered a real gem this morning that is worth reactivating this thread for: The Midnight Praises chanted July 15, 1977 by a group of 60 monks at the Monastery of St. Macarius in Wadi El Natrun, in the Egyptian desert. As it says at the very beginning of the video, the concluding prayer over the monks is by Fr. Matta El Miskeen (Fr. Matthew the Poor), who was one of the rehabilitators of this monastery (est. circa 360 AD) in the 1960s, on the order of HH Pope Kyrillos VI.



    It's already two hours, but I wish it were four! Such peace and contemplation is rare to find anywhere in this world.
     
  7. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

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    Holy Qurbana/liturgy at St. Ephrem Ecumenical Research Institute, Kottayam, Kerala state (South India) by HG Bishop Isaac Mar Osthathios. In Syriac, with no instruments! :eek:

     
  8. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

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    To follow the earlier posts about the Armenian Apostolic Church and its traditional chant, here is an absolutely amazing Patarag (Badarak/Divine Liturgy) done according to the setting written by the great Armenian priest, musicologist, and composer Komitas (Gomidas), sung by Hover Chamber Choir:



    WOW. :crosseo:
     
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