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The Capitol Hill Chorale | Paliashvili: Georgian Sacred Chants On the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom

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Paliashvili: Georgian Sacred Chants On the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom

by The Capitol Hill Chorale

1909 setting for a cappella mixed chorus of the Eastern Orthodox liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, based on traditional chant from the Republic of Georgia by Zakaria Paliashvili, considered the father of Georgian classical music.
Genre: Classical: Choral Music
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Great Litany
1:34 $0.99
2. Ak'urtkhevs Suli Chemi Upalsa (Bless the Lord, O My Soul)
2:56 $0.99
3. Movedit Taq'vani Vstset (Come, Let Us Worship)
2:07 $0.99
4. Ts'midao Ghmerto (Holy God)
4:15 $0.99
5. Jvarsa Shensa (To Thy Cross)
5:17 $0.99
6. Raodenta Krist'es Mier Natel Gvighebies (As Many of You Who Have Been Baptized)
2:02 $0.99
7. Alliluia, Glory to Thee, O Lord
1:42 $0.99
8. Romeli Kerubinta (Cherubic Hymn)
5:38 $0.99
9. Litany After Cherubic Hymn
2:03 $0.99
10. Ts'q'aloba Mshvidoba (Mercy of Peace)
3:50 $0.99
11. Shen Gigalobt (We Praise Thee)
2:33 $0.99
12. Ghirs Ars (It Is Meet)
4:45 $0.99
13. Mamao Chveno (Our Father)
3:14 $0.99
14. Akebdit Upalsa Tsatagan (Praise the Lord from the Heavens)
2:21 $0.99
15. Shen Khar Venakhi (You Are a Vineyard)
3:45 $0.99
16. Krist'e Aghsdga (Christ Is Risen from the Dead)
1:09 $0.99
17. Mravalzhamier (Many Years)
1:14 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Paliashvili’s Georgian Sacred Chants on the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is a setting for large mixed chorus of a set of transcribed chants that follow the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, the most common Eucharistic service used in the Orthodox Church. Although individual sections of the work are known, it has remained basically unknown as a single work. This performance is the first recording of Georgian Sacred Chants in Georgian.

Zakaria Paliashvili (1871-1933) is a figure of national pride in Georgia, and is considered to be the father of Georgian classical music. He is most famous as the composer of two operas, Daisi and Abesalom da Eteri, that draw heavily from Georgia’s folk tradition. The music for Georgia’s national anthem was taken from these two operas. The opera house in Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital, is named for him, and he is buried on its grounds. His portrait appears on one of the bills of Georgian paper money. Yet he is little known in the West.

At the time Palishvili composed his Georgian Sacred Chants in 1909, Georgia had been part of the Russian Empire for more than 100 years. The Russian policy of “Russification” in place throughout the Empire had increasingly imperiled Georgian cultural traditions, including particularly Georgian chant, a unique form of 3-part liturgical singing in the Georgian Orthodox Church that had existed for more than 1,000 years, predating the emergence of polyphony in Western European music by several centuries. Facing this threat, Georgians had begun transcribing chants on paper to preserve what had previously been handed down orally by master chanters. Paliashvili chose to use as the basis for his “choralizations” the written chant transcriptions by the future famous Russian composer Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov (1859-1935), then in Georgia as the head of the Tbilisi Music School, under a contract to leaders of the Georgian transcription movement.

However, instead of the 3 parts traditionally used in Georgian chant, Paliashvili used the 5, 6, and 7 parts for mixed voices he would have heard sung by Russian liturgical choirs in Moscow as a student at Moscow Conservatory in 1900-1903. It was a controversial choice which elicited strong condemnation from Georgian traditionalists. In addition, Paliashvili set the text not only in Georgian but also Church Slavonic, the language of the Russian Orthodox Church, in order to spread awareness of Georgian chant among Russian audiences. One can theorize that Georgian Sacred Chants was Paliashvili’s contribution not only to the preservation of Georgian heritage disrupted by Russian influence, but ironically an effort to make his professional contribution to the outpouring of chant-based liturgical writing going on in Russia at the time, which included settings of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom by Ippolitov-Ivanov, Rachmaninoff and many others.

Too western for Georgian traditionalists, and too Georgian for the Russian Orthodox Church, by the time of the Russian revolution, the piece was obviously too religious for the Soviets. However, while copies of transcribed chant were aggressively suppressed and hidden away, Paliashvili’s settings (for example, his setting of Shen Khar Venakhi) were known and sung privately, often in reconstituted traditional 3-part settings of the “Paliashvili arrangements” by those interested in recreating traditional Georgian singing. In the 1950s and 1960s, this included the founder of Rustavi, an ensemble which subsequently played a major role in fostering an appreciation of traditional Georgian music internationally. Thus, Paliashvili’s Georgian Sacred Chants may not have spread awareness of Georgian chant among his Georgian and Russian contemporaries as he had intended, but it did indirectly serve that goal to later generations.

The Capitol Hill Chorale is a 100-voice auditioned choir located in Washington, DC. Since its founding in 1993, the Chorale has had a particular interest in Orthodox liturgical music from the early twentieth century, performing settings of the Divine Liturgy by Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky, by the Serbian composer Stevan Stojanovic Mokranjac (1856-1914), and the Georgian composer Zakaria Paliashvili. Performances of other Orthodox music include the first North American performance in 1994 of Alexander Gretchaninoff’s (1864-1956) setting of the All-Night Vigil (Op. 59). Frederick Binkholder has been the Chorale’s Artistic Director since 2000.

For more information on Paliashvili and this recording, visit the Chorale’s website at www.capitolhillchorale.org.



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