~ St. Basil the Great, Exegetic Homilies, Homily 10
“I shall never forget,” — recalls one observer, “how, once the hymns of praise (stikhera) were being sung. Father John had by that time almost finished vesting, so as to celebrate Divine Liturgy. Only the chasuble was not on him. Quickly, in a swift movement, more running than walking, he came out of the altar to the choir, joined the singers and began to sing together with them. He sang animatedly, with deep faith, himself acting as choirmaster, again stressing individual words and slowing the tempo where that was required by the logical meaning of what was being sung. Experienced singers instinctively guessed these words, this tempo and rhythm, and followed him with no small skill and animation. The singing, not very harmonious at first, quickly became melodious, strong, sonorous, mighty, animating, flowing over the whole church, wholly filling the hearts of those who were praying. It was touching to look at the singers at that moment. It was as if some holy early Christian family, with its father at the head, were singing, singing its victorious, holy and great hymns.”
~ from A Spiritual Portrait of St. John of Kronstadt, by Bishop Alexander Mileant
The St. Romanos the Melodist Society produces and publishes English language music of the Russian Orthodox Church. This website is the online extension of A Church Singer's Companion, a project started in 1998 with the blessing of Metropolitan (then Archbishop) Laurus. Inspired by the Russian Sputnik Psalomshchika, the Companion is envisioned to contain the music necessary for every service a parish choir might need to sing, while staying simple enough so that any parish choir can sing it.
The St. Romanos Society produces music in both printed and recorded formats, and conducts seminars and workshops on the proper performance of that music. The Society is a sodality of Holy Apostles Orthodox Church, an English mission parish currently worshipping in Beltsville, Maryland.
To get started looking at music, click on one of the links to the left. In addition to the music for the Companion, there are a few more challenging settings mixed in, marked “difficult” or “very difficult”. Audio or video examples accompany some of the music. In addition, the Introduction provides valuable advice about proper church singing and related topics. And please help support us by clicking on “Support Our Work” to the left or going straight to the “Donate” button to leave a donation.
Some music on this site is written with three parts on the top staff and only the bass part on the bottom staff. These settings are designed to give more flexibility to small choirs with variable voice parts. For a full choir, tenors sing the top part, sopranos sing the middle part, and altos sing the lower part on the top staff. Basses should always sing the bass part below the other parts. The top 3 voice parts can be given to any singers in either octave to accommodate the abilities of the choir. Keep in mind that the music will sound better without large gaps between the parts (eg. lower part on the top staff sung an octave lower with everything else sung as written) and that if voice parts need to be removed, the lower part on the top staff will be missed the least, and the middle part will be missed the most.
|12/8/19||Fixed Cycle - Magnification for Christmas, Theophany, and the Meeting of the Lord|
|5/27/19||Paschal Cycle - new music for Pentecost|
|2/20/19||Paschal Cycle - “God is the Lord” and troparia for Holy Saturday|
|1/1/19||Fixed Cycle - Stichera on “Lord, I Have Cried” and the Aposticha for the Eve of the Nativity of Christ|
|11/10/18||Fixed Cycle - Magnification for St. Herman of Alaska|