A Byzantine Emperor at King Henry’s Court


Album Details

EAN/UPC: 753459828328
Catalog No: CR-427
Release Date: January 20, 2023
Liner Notes

Cappella Records is proud to present its 30th release: A Byzantine Emperor at King Henry’s Court: Christmas 1400, London, performed by Cappella Romana and led by founder and music director Alexander Lingas.

Experience musical worlds colliding against the backdrop of international politics and war. Go back in time to 1400, when Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos, seeking foreign aid for besieged Constantinople, spent Christmas in the court of English King Henry IV.

Under the direction of Alexander Lingas, the same men and women of Cappella Romana who brought you the Lost Voices of Hagia Sophia bestseller (44 weeks on Billboard) bring to life medieval Byzantine and Sarum chant and royal ceremonial performed by two very different historic choirs, one singing in Greek and the other in Latin, as they celebrated the feast of Christmas at London’s Eltham Palace.

A Byzantine Emperor at King Henry’s Court 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. SACD includes a 36-page booklet with extensive essay and bibliography, manuscript facsimile and complete biographies of all singers. Original texts in Latin and polytonic Greek with English.

Cappella Romana launches this world premiere recording with the world premiere performances in Seattle and Portland, January 20-22, 2023.

    From the Services of Christmas Eve

  1. Sarum Responsory at Vespers for the Vigil of the Nativity of the Lord: Iudea et Hierusalem
  2. Acclamations Sung at the Prókypsis of the Emperor
    MS Sinai gr. 1234, 179v–180r
  3. Kalophonic Polychrónion by Xenos Korones
    MS Sinai gr. 1234, 180r–180v
  4. Grom the Services of Christmas Day

  5. Motet: Ovet mundus letabundus
  6. Pentekostaria (Tropes of Psalm 50) for Christmas Matins
    MSS Athens NLG 2401, f. 131r/v; Sinai gr. 1234, f. 181r; Sinai gr. 1251, f. 114v; and Sinai gr. 1293, f. 162r/v.
  7. Sarum Responsory from the Second Nocturn of Matins: O magnum mysterium
  8. From the First Kanon of Christmas Matins by Kosmas of Jerusalem (8th c.): Ode 9 with Megalynaria
    MS Sinai gr. 1256 (Heirmós)
  9. Kalophonic Megalynarion by St. John Koukouzeles and Katavasia of Ode 9
    MSS Sinai gr. 1234, ff. 185v–186v (Megalynarion); and Trinity College, Cambridge O.2.61, f. 11r
  10. Prosa from the Sarum Processionale: Te laudant alme Rex
  11. Entrance Antiphon: Hodie Christus natus est
  12. Prologue of the Kontakion for the Nativity of Christ by St. Romanos the Melodist (6th c.)
    MSS Mt. Athos
    Kostamonitou 86, ff. 29v–30r and Dionysiou 570, f.129r
  13. Kyrie for Principal Double Feasts: Deus Creator omnium
  14. Gloria in excelsis
  15. Communion Verse for Christmas by Agathon Korones
    MSS Athens NLG 2406, 450r (intonation); and Athens NLG 899, f. 134 (Communion)
  16. At Second Vespers on Christmas Evening

  17. Antiphon before the Magnificat: Hodie Christus natus est
  18. Magnificat
  19. Antiphon after the Magnificat: Hodie Christus natus est


deeply researched… performed and recorded in Cappella Romana's usual superb quality. ” –Jon Sobel

San Francisco Classical Voice

“This combination of repertory is practically unique among choral groups… a unique moment not only in musical history but history in general… immersion in history and scholarship sets the group apart. … ecstatic moments where you feel outside yourself is…what they do” ” –Emily Wilson

Planet Hugill

the singers are clearly steeped in the stylistic world of this music and it shows in their freedom, flexibility and that sense of an ensemble performing this regularly.… ” –Robert Hugill

All Music

a cross-cultural event of a sort rare in medieval times, and Cappella Romana brings it to life… this is a unique and fascinating medieval release. ” –James Manheim

Concerto Net

this album… welcomes those who are new to the Eastern tradition. The blend of well‑performed music from strikingly different cultures teaches us that we, too, may hold hands, look deeply into each others’ eyes and become open to tolerance and understanding. ” –Linda Holt


Fans of medieval liturgical music should snap this up without delay; strongly recommended. ” –James A. Altena

The American Organist

...an amazing musical smorgasbord...a remarkable feat in achieving idiomatic-sounding portrayals of both. As we have come to expect from Cappella Romana, the singing is technically polished; the shining tone and precise intonation make for exciting listening. ” –Murray Somerville