A New Musical Setting of the Divine Liturgy

Source: Orthodox Arts Journal

August 22, 2017

    

Editor’s note: On Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at 9:30 am the PaTRAM Institute singers Choir, conducted by Maestro Peter Jermihov, will sing an original all-English Liturgy based on the Russian style, commissioned by the PaTRAM Institute and composed by Dr. Kurt Sander, at St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral in Howell, NJ.

We have asked Dr. Sander to describe for us his experience composing this exciting new work. Here are his thoughts, followed by the official flyer announcing the service at which the piece will be premiered. Our readers are encouraged to attend.

During the eight months it took to complete the work, I can say that the whole process reinforced two important principles in my mind regarding Orthodox sacred music. The first is that language is indeed the primordial substance of worship. Words are the vehicles for prayer and words are powerful things on an intellectual level. Yet, how we speak a particular word in a particular language is also important. It influences how we sing it, and how we sing it, in turn, influences how we understand it. So, not only do we have a semantic understanding of a word or phrase, but we also have a phonological or “musical” understanding as well. One might say that in the writing of this Liturgy, I rediscovered my appreciation for the aesthetic qualities of the English language as a language of prayer, and its ability to convey through sound rich theological ideas with clarity and economy. While it is not an easy language for singers, it is a wonderful language for composers. Working from the English text felt very natural, and as someone who has done his fair share of English adaptation of pre-existing Slavonic works, this process felt both organic and liberating.

...Read the rest at Orthodox Arts Journal.

Dr. Kurt Sander

8/24/2017

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Comments
Rdr Andreas Moran8/25/2017 12:35 am
A key factor for some of us is the text that is used; it would be good to know which text. One hopes it is traditional liturgical English based on early modern English (the proper name for 'King James Bible' English).
Isidora8/24/2017 8:36 pm
Very much looking forward to audio when available.
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