Ivan Moody talks about Cappella Romana’s latest release, Arctic Light with Fanfare Magazine‘s James Altena. Read a couple of the questions below and find the full interview on the Fanfare website
Fanfare: How did your particular association with the Cappella Romana come about, and what led to the recording of your Arctic Light CD with them?
Ivan Moody: I met the artistic director of Cappella Romana, Alexander Lingas, in England in, I think, 1988 or 1989, and we remained in touch. He conducted some of my pieces with the group, especially my lengthy oratorio Passion & Resurrection, and I subsequently wrote my Akáthistos Hymn for the group, and they performed it in concert and recorded it. After that I was invited back to conduct concerts and, apart from my own music, I have concentrated on music from Bulgaria and Serbia, in which I have a particular interest, and now, of course, from Finland. The recording came about because of the enormous enthusiasm that was apparent from the audiences on hearing this completely unknown repertoire: There was definitely electricity in the air!
Fanfare: Where do the works on the Arctic Light CD fit in to the larger framework of Orthodox liturgical music? How did you come to choose the particular works to be included in it?
Ivan Moody: Finland is a very interesting case. In normal parish use in Finland you will find very standard Russian St. Petersburg four-part chant (in Finnish), though there is now increasing interest in Byzantine and early Russian chant. But the music on the CD is something quite different. Composers such as Pekka Attinen and Boris Jakubov were trying to find a genuinely Finnish musical language for the Orthodox Church, and they were highly resourceful in so doing. Much of their work might be seen as experimental (in particular the remarkable Cherubic Hymn by Attinen, which suggests a composer such as Richard Strauss), and it is not frequently sung liturgically, but it was a very important step in the creation of a Finnish musical identity.
Other composers continued this, especially Peter Mirolybov and Leonid Bashmakov, and there are some highly original composers of younger generations—in particular Timo Ruottinen and the even younger Mikko Sidoroff, who are producing large amounts of music for liturgical use. I chose the repertoire on the basis of what had particularly struck me as interesting after having known this music for quite a few years, and in order to give something of a survey.