Tuesday, December 25, 2007

What's in a name?

On Friday evening, I heard the Portland Baroque Orchestra's concert with Cappella Romana as the chorus. But only LeaAnne DenBeste and a couple other people in the chorus normally sing with Cappella Romana. In fact, none of the core Cappella Romana men (including Mark Powell who also serves on the administrative staff of Cappella Romana and on the staff of PBO) sang in this concert or the concert series (four performances). So why bother to call the vocal ensemble Cappella Romana?


Cappella Romana said...

Dear James:

Au contrair, mon ami. Thank you for your posting, however I'd like to set the record straight about the personnel for Cappella Romana's recent project with Portland Baroque Orchestra performing Messiah and Russian Choral works.

LeaAnne DenBeste is not the only regular member of Cappella Romana in this year's Messiah production. In fact there are only two singers of the 23 here who have never performed before with Cappella Romana. One must compare apples and apples, because the core members of Cappella Romana for the larger choral projects are well represented here. The chant and/or one-on-a-part ensemble may not be represented, partly because some of that membership is not resident in Portland.

Many of the singers listed below performed in large projects with either Ivan Moody in January 2006 or Mark Bailey in November 2006 (Balkan and Russian choral music respectively) or both of these projects. Many of the following singers will also appear in a few weeks with Ivan Moody directing Finnish Orthodox Music on January 11/12 (http://www.cappellaromana.org).

Cappella Romana is always looking for skilled ensemble singers, and we are fortunate that a good number moved here in 2006.

Here is an annotated list:

LeaAnne DenBeste / since 1991
Ann Mia Haning / new this project
Maria Karlin / since 2005
Stephanie Kramer / since 1997
Gayle Neuman / since at least 1995
Kathleen Taylor / since 2006
Rachel Taylor Brown / since 1993

Kristen Buhler / since 2006
Kerry McCarthy / since 1993
Sherry Olson / since 2005
Amy Russell Cathey / since before 2004
Wendy Steele / since 1997

Charles Walsh / new this project
Cahen Tayor / since 2006
Brian F. Francis / since 2006
Stephen Marc Beaudoin / since 2006
Paige Baker / since 2004, but on the call list before that
Daniel A. Burnett / since 2006

Jas. Adams / since 2006, but on the call list before then
Aaron Cain / since 2007
Ben Kinkley / since 2006
Michael Miersma / new this project
Paul Sadilek / since 2005

James Bash said...

Thanks Mark,

I'm trying to explain what Cappella Romana is for an article that I'm writing for the American Record Guide. On the one hand, it's a core of singers who present Byzantine chant, but on the other had it's a larger, more diverse group that presents a variety of music both old and new.

Cappella Romana said...

Dear James:

Cappella Romana's website is fairly clear about what Cappella Romana is: an ensemble that is flexible is size and committed to TWO particular repertories, without the exclusion of others (1610 Vespers and the Schuetz Resurrection History are just two major works in the group's European repertoire).

Our "core singers" do much more than Byzantine chant, but also early music by such composers as Dufay, Ockeghem and Machaut, to cite just three recent examples. It should be said that the Byzantine chant ensemble is only one possibility of many configurations, all under the banner of Cappella Romana. In broad strokes, there is the Byzantine chant ensemble, the mixed (male and female) early music ensemble, the "Slavic" choir configuration, and the larger choir needed for some recent premieres of contemporary music. This isn't particularly extraordinary, since other ensembles expand and contract according to the demands of the repertoire, perhaps most notably the Tallis Scholars, whose normal touring group is 10, but which expands up to 40 to perform "that big piece by Thomas Tallis."

A little research combined with the information on our website should have revealed that Cappella Romana is both a men's Byzantine chant choir as well as a vocal ensemble that embraces diverse traditional repertoires of the Christian East and West that appears in a variety of sizes.

From our site:

"Flexible in size according to the demands of the repertory, Cappella Romana is one of the Pacific Northwest’s few professional chamber vocal ensembles. It has a special commitment to mastering the Slavic and Byzantine repertories in their original languages, thereby making accessible to the general public two great musical traditions that are little known in the West. Leading scholars have supplied the group with their latest discoveries, while its music director has prepared a number of the ensemble’s performing editions from original sources. In the field of contemporary music, Cappella Romana has taken a leading role in bringing to West Coast audiences the works of such European composers as Michael Adamis, Ivan Moody, Arvo Pärt, and John Tavener, as well as promoting the work of North Americans such as Fr. Sergei Glagolev, Christos Hatzis, Peter Michaelides, and Tikey Zes."


James Bash said...

Thanks again!

I'm still working on this thing, so I'll try my best to make the flexibility of CR clear in the limited space that is given to me.