“[Heaven and Earth] provides a selection of music which is contemporary and fresh, but firmly rooted in a faith tradition shared by some 300 million people worldwide. … there is something otherworldly about these recordings, which include Tavener’s nearly 40-year-old Ikon, and the 21st-century Heaven and Earth in nine movements. In this edition and performance, the Tavener work lifts up and offers, as though it were encased in a chalice, the Mystic Prayer to the Holy Spirit of St. Simeon the New Theologian (949 to 1022). … it is impossible to separate Tavener’s music in this performance from the context of spirituality. In every measure, we are confronted by an integration of faith and art not unlike our experience of Messiaen and J.S. Bach. By the conclusion of this first CD, I had gained a new respect for Tavener. He was an artist in need of a particularly understanding ensemble to express his vision. He found this ensemble, posthumously, in Cappella Romana.
Turning to the second work, Heaven and Earth, it is important to remember that this album features composers who are influenced by Orthodox traditions… The overall sound of this album is one of strength and power. The texts of creation (translated into English) unfold as though accompanying a cosmic explosion which unifies science and belief. This is bold music with nothing weak or tentative. I was heartened by the strong presence of women’s voices in these renditions. The overall impact of choir and string trio, regardless of which composer is featured, remains one of energetic engagement and self-confidence. … Together with Ikon, the Heaven and Earth section of this album provides a balanced program of music that is totally modern but bearing an indisputable imprint of Eastern Christian traditions. This balance and revelation is Cappella Romana’s unique gift to world music, a door opening to greater understanding and the expansion of our appreciation of beauty.”