Where To Go – The Complete Guide to London & Around
17 – 23 February 1977
Events – The London Diary
Thursday, 17 February: Greek Classical Hymns can be heard, free of charge, at Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, W.C. 1 (tube: Holborn), at 8.00, with refreshments available.
Evening Standard, Thursday, February 17, 1977
Tonight Out – Alternatives for a London evening
CHORAL: A recital of Greek ecclesiastical hymnswill be sung by the choir of the Greek Cathedral of St Sophia, at the Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holborn, at 8. Free.
Vol. 11 London, February, 1977 No. 114
“The Greek gazette”
A recital of Greek ecclesiastical music by the Choir of the Greek Cathedral of Saint Sophia was given at the Conway Hall, in the presence of a large and enthusiastic audience, on the evening of Thursday, 17th February. The occasion was honoured by the presence of His Grace Archbishop Athenagoras.
Under the choirmaster, George Trantalides, appointed only three years ago, the music of the Cathedral has been reorganized on a new basis with greater Orthodox Church. The high standards which have been set were made evident throughout the sacred concert.
In Part One a small group of male singers performed Byzantine hymns of Pentecost. The Second Part where the voices were mixed was devoted to hymns from the Divine Liturgy, which is to be heard in the Bayswater Cathedral Sunday by Sunday. In this section nothing could be more deeply moving for an English ear than the Fos Ilaron (translated in the English Hymnal No1 269 as “O gladsome light”) or the Hymn of Thanksgiving (Psalm 135). What chant in the Western Church could exactly parallel the Cherubic Hymn of the Churches of the East? Or the Paternoster, as sung by Greek (or Russian) voices?
The new choirmaster has obviously set his face against tangling the traditional tunes with occidental harmonies. He prefers the chaster style of Byzantium. At the recital we heard nothing remotely like a Bach chorale or the Venti Creatorof the Roman Church.
English ears naturally need acclimatization more remote even than medieval plainsong. Not all of us in Britain whose taste in ecclesiastical music has been moulded in the pattern of the Victorian four-part hymn will enjoy the spare styleof Saint Sophia. The staccato treatment of the words, involving at times some glaring phonological gaps, can be hard for foreign listeners in search of the sense. Understanding Byzantine chantscan only be achieved by patience and perseverance. Where better than on a Sunday morning at the Greek Cathedral in Bayswater? Or at a recital such as was made possible in February at the Conway Hall?