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Friday, September 23, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. - Christ Church Cathedral

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Based in Thessaloniki, Greece, En Chordais is active in the learned and popular multicultural musical traditions of the Mediterranean. The ensemble fuses contemporary musical trends with Byzantine art music and Greek regional idioms and will present works from newly discovered Byzantine manuscripts dating from 1480 to 1800.


Segah Muhammes Pesrev

Anonymous, MS Gritsanis 3 (Zakynthos island, 18th century)


Täsnîf Persikon 

Abdülkadir Marâghî (~1350 – 1435), MS Leimonos 259 (Lesvos island, dated 1572).  


Chairesthe kampoi chairesthe ~

(Plains be happy)

Greek traditional song, MS Iviron 1189 (Mont Athos, dated 1562).


Evic Semai

Şâh Abbâs (1571-1629), MS Hellenic Philological Association of Constantinople 44 (18th century) 


Nevâ [Peşrev] [Persikon]

Anonymous, MS Konstantinos Psachos Library – University of Athens 60 (18th century) 


Anarchos Theos, Byzantine Carols

(Beginningless God)

Anonymus, MS Gritsanis 8 (Zakynthos island, dated 1698)


Hüseynî ‘Aşirân Ağir Semâ’î

Hânende Zacharias (18th century), MS Hellenic Philological Association of Constantinople 44 (18th century) 


Gavesht Saz Semai

Dimitri Cantemir (1673-1723), MS Istanbul Universitesi Kutuphanesi, Turkiyat Enstitusu, 2768.


Pote kaneis as men ipi

(Never let anyone say)

Petros Peloponnesios (1740-1778), MSS RAL 927, 62r / RAL 925, 6r / LKP 19/173, 118r / ELIA, 75r / RAL 784, 10r / Iaşi 129, 47 / Vatopediou 1428, 48.


Valte filoi mes ti vrysi, to krasi mas na drosisei

(Friends, put our wine in the tap to cool)

Nikeforos Kantouniares (ca. 1770-ca. 1820), verses by Athanasios Christopoulos (1772- 1847). MSS RAL 784, 81r / Iaşi 129, 309 / Vatopediou 1428, 316.


Hicâz [Saz] Semâ’î

Anonymous, MS Konstantinos Psachos Library – University of Athens 60 (18th century) 


Hejāz Kar

Anonymous, MS Hellenic Philological Association of Constantinople 44 (18th century) 



Both ensembles «En Chordais» and «Constantinople» have devoted special attention and energy to the promotion of intercultural dialogue, identifying and promoting the many levels at which the musical heritages of the Mediterranean and beyond are intimately connected and interdependent. By this project both ensembles join their talents again and propose a unique opportunity for the audience to hear the sounds of Eastern Mediterranean Art Music in the 14th to 19th centuries. 

The recent research undertaken by Dr. Κalaitzidis on Byzantine and Post-Byzantine music manuscripts is the cornerstone of this program. These manuscripts allow us with a fair degree of certainty to reach historical depths that were previously unattainable. It is worth noting that from the middle of the 10th century Byzantine music teachers developed a system of music notation based phonetic signs. About 7,500 Byzantine and Post-Byzantine music manuscripts survive today. This project deals with the phenomenon of the use of this Byzantine system of notation for the writing down of secular music, whether of Greek, Persian, Ottoman or Arabic origin.

Today, the Post-Byzantine music manuscripts are considered one of the most significant written sources for secular music of the East: a total of 4,200 pages containing transcribed secular pieces. The manuscripts mention seventy-four named composers including Greeks, Turks, Persians, Arabs, Jews, as well as many anonymous composers, with a total of approximately 1060 works recorded within them: Ottoman court music, Phanariot songs, Persian Art Music, as well as a few Greek folk songs. Some of these compositions have been transcribed into staff notation and published recently by the National Music University – Bucharest.

These written sources provide us with an astounding possibility to know and hear examples of  Mediterranean Art Music from these centuries. We believe that it is most interesting to present this musical tangible evidence of the relationships within the Byzantine and neighbouring musical heritages, and the curiosity and openness of the musicians at the time, to understand and integrate idioms other than their own. Furthermore, this concert will underline the presence of Mediterranean music culture and its dialogue with the other major cultural forces throughout a significant phase of the history of what is today the Middle East.

The fruitful collaboration of the two ensembles «En Chordais» and «Constantinople» go back to 2000. Since then, they have worked together on numerous projects and presented nearly 50 concerts around the world. This project is a dream come true, after so many years of collaboration, discussion, and research on the manuscripts. The rediscovery and interpretation of these masterpieces by visionary composers of the past, is an overwhelming process and brings to light the beauty and intercultural facet of this musical art.   


Parking Information

The Cathedral is located on Quadra Street at Rockland Avenue. 

Street parking is available on Quadra Street, Burdett Avenue, and Rockland Avenue, as well as at the south entrance to the Cathedral off Burdett.

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