“The music itself is astonishing. … I was struck at once by the wonderful overlapping sonorities of the choir. There’s a real depth and richness to the choral sound and here, as elsewhere, the fabulously deep and resonant basses anchor the choir’s sound superbly. Despite the resonance, the singers still achieve clarity.
… The members of Cappella Romana bring terrific fervour to both the solo sections and the choral passages in the Small litany and Old Kalophonic Antiphon. They move seamlessly into the Stichologia, one of several instances in which female voices are included. The Ode 4 of the Canon of the Precious Cross brings this sub-section of the programme to a remarkable conclusion. Verses are sung alternately by two choirs against a deep bass drone; the chant is purposeful and declamatory. The sound that the choir makes within the simulated acoustic is absolutely compelling and this is one of several occasions where, at the very end of the piece, the listener gets a real appreciation of the reverberation of the Hagia Sophia acoustic. …
The Cherubic Hymn, which concludes the CD, is superb. Listen in particular to the way the music gradually ascends until it reaches the tenor register (track 12, 6:09) at which point the higher pitch adds even more to the fervour of the music and performance. I’m inclined to think that this piece, and the performance it receives, has more impact than anything else on the disc; it certainly grabbed my attention.
… this is a careful and respectful example of musicological and acoustical practical research but the project is anything but a dry exercise. Cappella Romana and the Stanford acousticians have brought this music vividly to life and we hear it, as it wore, resounding across the centuries.
… a magnificent production. The singing of Cappella Romana is superb from start to finish – the choir comprises 14 voices but often they make a huge sound, albeit without any suggestion of forcing the tone. The demonstration-class recorded sound enhances their performances greatly. I can honestly say I’ve never experienced a disc like this but it’s a real ear-opener and a formidable achievement.”