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St. Ephraim Male Choir

St. Ephraim Male Choir

The choir was founded in 2002 by Tamas Bubno, a Hungarian church musician and conductor. When he was collecting religious melodies in the Subcarpathian area in the Ukraine for his DLA thesis, entitled: Origin and Variants of Greek Catholic Liturgical Chants in Hungary and the Subcarpathian Area, one day he discovered an unknown manuscript of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom for male choir, composed by Janos Boksay; a Greek Catholic priest and composer at the turn of the century (1874-1940).

He decided to gather some of his friends, all professional singers working with the best choirs in Budapest (the Male Choir of the Defence Ministry, Choir of the Hungarian Radio, the National Choir, the Tomkins Vocal Ensemble, etc.) and some of his former students (from the Schola Cantorum Budapestiensis), to perform this work.

The choir started to participate regularly in Byzantine liturgical services, mostly in Greek Catholic Churches in Budapest and other Hungarian cities. The ensemble took its name Saint Ephraim, the Syrian (307-378), who was the first great Byzantine hymnographer, called "The Harp of the Holy Ghost" by his contemporaries.

The first CD of the choir, the Boksay-Liturgy that Bubno discovered, was published by Hungaroton. (2005) Their repertoire is enhanced by some classics of the Slavonic-Orthodox music, documented on their second recording, that appeared on the label Orpheia in 2006. This album is a compilation of Greek-Byzantine, Hungarian and Slavonic ecclesiastical music and it features a rarity: the one and only motet of Ferenc Liszt in Old Church Slavonic (Slavimo Slavno Slaveni). The choir received significant sponsoring at that time from the National Council of the Ruthenian Minority of Hungary.

In 2006 the St. Ephraim Male Choir won the category of Professional Chamber Choir in the 25th Anniversary Competition in the Hajnowka International Festival of Orthodox Music. (Poland) They were the first ensemble coming from a non-Slavonic country to win first prize in the history of the competiton.

In the last couple of years they have given concerts in Moscow, St.Petersburg, Berlin, Rome and Paris. They have been invited to the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival (2007) Donaufest-Ulm (2010) in Germany, Festival de Royaumont (2008) Festival d'Auvers-sur-Oise (2009) in France, Janacek Festival Ostrava-Czech Republik (2010), and have toured Slovakia, Poland, Serbia as well. The Saint Ephraim Male Choir has also performed at the most prominent festivals in Hungary. Budapest Spring Festival, (2006, 2008,) Valley of Arts, Kapolcs (2006,2007), Arcus Temporum Festival, Pannonhalma (2008) Miskolc Opera Festival (2007, 2010) Tchaikovsky Marathon, Budapest (2008) 'ordogkatlan' Festival (2008-2009-2010), Pecs - Cultural Capitol of Europe (2010)

The choir's main goal remains the perform the ecclesiastical music of the Byzantine rite in authentic way.. However, for thematic concerts the ensemble perform other compositions from the Western tradition (Gregorian chants, Protestant songs and gospels), and secular pieces as well, provided they can be performed by a chamber choir. Their concerts singing Liszt and Bartok were enormously successful at the Schleswig-Holstein Festival. They have plans to record all male choral compositions of the two great Hungarian composers alongside recording other pieces of Byzantine rite music. The third album of the Ensemble is edited by BMC: Liszt: Male choruses I (2009).

Discography

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St. Ephraim Male Choir : Listz for Male Choruses : 00  1 CD :  :   5998309301681 : 68

St. Ephraim Male Choir : Listz for Male Choruses

Review: A considerable portion of Liszt's oeuvre is made up of compositions for male choir, which have to date not truly gained their rightful place in the choral repertoire. Of the more than 60 varied male choruses, composed a cappella or accompanied by piano, organ, a few instruments, or orchestra, often extant in various complete, printed versions, a great number have not been recorded even once. The Saint Ephraim Male Choir, led by conductor Tamas Bubno, has set itself the task of programming in concerts, recording and releasing on CD all Liszt's works for male choir and ensembles of male voices, both the sacred and the secular.

Songlist: Licht! mehr Licht!/ Light! More Light!, Vereins-Lied/ Society Song, Standchen/ Serenade, Wir sind nicht Mumien/ We are not Mummies , Vor der Schlacht/ Before Battle, Nicht gezagt/ Fear Nothing, Es rufet Gott/ God Calls, Soldaten-Lied aus Faust von Goethe/ Soldier's Song from Faust by Goethe, Die alten Sagen kunden/ The Old Legends Tell, Saatengrun/ Silky Grass, Der Gang um Mitternacht/ Midnight Wandering, Festlied/ Festival Song, Gottes ist der Orient/ The Orient is the Lord's, Festgesang/ Festive Song, Uber allen Gipfeln ist Ruh/ Wanderer's Night Song

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2330c | 00 1 CD | $15.95 Men's Choirs CDs


St. Ephraim Male Choir : Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom : 00  1 CD :  : 32315

St. Ephraim Male Choir : Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom

Review: On the turn of the 20th century Greek Catholic sacred music held sway over much of the music scene of Sub-Carpathia, in the north-eastern part of Hungary. A great many members of the Byzantine-rite Rusyn clergy, as well as Hungarians, were well versed in music, which was put to use in maintaining high artistic standards in the daily liturgy. One significant master of this period was Joann (Janos) Boksay (1874 - 1940), a Greek Catholic celebrant, composer and church choirmaster. His output includes pieces for piano, dramatic incidental music and children's operas, but his most important works are considered to be his ten Divine Liturgies of St John Chrysostom, four of which have survived. The most widely known one is the Mass in C major, composed in 1900, whose simple and pure melodies have earned it folk-hymn status among the Greek Catholics in the Munkacs (Munkacevo, Ukraine), Eperjes (Presov, Slovakia), and Hajdudorog eparchies.

Songlist: Litany Of Peace, 1st Antiphon, Glory Be To The Father, Come Let Us Worship, Trishagion, Gospel, Litany Of Supplication, Cherubimic Hymn, Litany Of The Offertory, The Creed, The Mercy Of Peace, Holy, Holy, Holy, We Praise You, Hymn To The Blessed Virgin, The Lord's Prayer, One Is Holy, Blessed Is He, Thanksgiving Hymn, Dismissal, For Many Years

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8422c | 00 1 CD | $15.95 | A Cappella Men's Choirs CDs

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