Cappella Records is pleased to announce the October 14, 2022, two-disc release of Heaven and Earth, with Cappella Romana’s Associate Music Director John Michael Boyer leading the ensemble along with 45th Parallel Universe in John Tavener’s masterpiece for choir and string trio, Ikon of Light.
The release also features the world premiere of Heaven and Earth: A Song of Creation, a unique collaborative setting of the Creation Psalm (103 LXX) by six acclaimed Orthodox choral composers: Tikey Zes, Richard Toensing, GRAMMY® Award nominee Kurt Sander, Alexander Khalil, Matthew Arndt, and conductor John Michael Boyer. The Saint John of Damascus Society, which promotes new Orthodox choral music, commissioned Heaven and Earth for Cappella Romana in 2013 in honor of the 2012 Higgs boson discovery.
Richard Barrett, Cappella Romana’s Director of Publications, says in his extensive essay that Ikon of Light and Heaven and Earth are “complementary musical compositions that focus on these parallel aspects of light—supernatural and natural—in Orthodox spirituality.” The two works offer a transcendent experience of musical beauty–one informed by Orthodox spirituality and influenced by the contours of Byzantine chant. Ikon of Light explores the inner, mystical illumination of the soul as described by the medieval mystic St. Symeon the New Theologian. Heaven and Earth weaves Renaissance counterpoint, Slavic harmony, Georgian polyphony, and more around a central Byzantine melodic line. The composers create a tapestry of shimmering harmonies that finds unity through diversity, underscoring the Creation Psalm’s theme: “How magnified are your works, O Lord. With wisdom have You made them all!”
Cappella Romana features some of America’s finest choral singers, many of whom are renowned specialists in historically-informed performance and Byzantine chant, singing in Greek and English.
Heaven and Earth is the second of three planned 2022 releases on Cappella Records produced by multi-GRAMMY® Award winner Blanton Alspaugh and the engineering team at Soundmirror.
Soundmirror’s outstanding orchestral, solo, opera, and chamber recordings have earned more than 100 GRAMMY® nominations and awards, with releases on every major classical label.
Heaven and Earth is released on a Hybrid SACD in 2.0 stereo and 5.0 surround sound (DSM192K/24bit), recorded in DSD and Dolby® Atmos Spatial Audio and downloadable to audio servers and devices. The accompanying booklet provides an extensive essay on the work, the full texts used in the composition, composer notes, full translations, and beautiful photography. Cappella Records is distributed by Naxos USA.