Boston Byzantine Choir
The Boston Byzantine Choir was formed in 1993 by St. Mary's Protocantor, Charles R. Marge, with the goal of making Byzantine music accessible to the English-speaking world. The choir is a product of the rich chanting tradition of St. Mary's Orthodox Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a parish of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.
The choir's premiere recording, FIRST FRUITS, is one of the best selling recordings of Byzantine Chant in English. A second recording, MYSTICAL SUPPER, was released in 2000. THY PASSION, a third recording of the chants of Holy Week was released in 2004.
The members of the Boston Byzantine Choir come from several Orthodox jurisdictions, making this truly a pan-Orthodox endeavor. The Choir members are also a mixture of "cradle" Orthodox, as well as converts to Holy Orthodoxy from a variety of backgrounds -- All share the same love for praising God in liturgical melodies of the Byzantine tradition.
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Byzantine chant is a vine heavy-laden with the fruits of illumination, deeply rooted in the traditions of Biblical liturgical worship. It heeds St. Paul's injunction to "exhort one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs" (Eph. 5:19).
This collection of Byzantine hymnography in English may come as a revelation to Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike. To the former, that the traditional tones and hymns can be rendered in the English language without a diminution of form and essence, and to the latter, that this tradition of sacred music may indeed be accessible to western listeners.
The proper context of Byzantine chant is liturgical celebration. It is not meant to be "performed," but to be prayed. Neither is it meant for mere entertainment, it is meant for worship. The intent of Orthodox hymnographers is the same as that of Orthodox theologians, to find words and music "appropriate to God."
For both theologian and hymnist, the same principle applies: the depth of one's prayer life determines the depth of God revealed in one's work.
Flowing from nearly two thousand years of history, experience, and tradition, Byzantine chant continues to illuminate the mysteries of the Gospel of Christ to multitudes of faithful Christians from diverse cultures around the world. This is no less true for America. The Orthodox Faith has existed here for over two centuries, and is even now growing at a steady rate.
The Boston Byzantine Choir wishes to present this treasury of Byzantine music to all "who have ears to hear."
Therefore in your concord and harmonious love, Jesus Christ is sung. And do ye, one by one, become a choir, that being harmonious in love, and taking up the song of God in unison, ye may with one voice sing to the Father through Jesus Christ, so that He may both hear you, and perceive by your works that ye are indeed the members of His Son.
- from The Epistle of St. Ignatius to the Ephesians