Academic journal article Yearbook for Traditional Music

ÉGypte: Hymnes De L'église Copte Orthodoxe: Choeur De l'Institut D'études Coptes / Egypt: Coptic Orthodox Church Hymns: Choir of the Institute of Coptic Studies

Academic journal article Yearbook for Traditional Music

ÉGypte: Hymnes De L'église Copte Orthodoxe: Choeur De l'Institut D'études Coptes / Egypt: Coptic Orthodox Church Hymns: Choir of the Institute of Coptic Studies

Article excerpt

NORTH AFRICA AND WEST ASIA Égypte: Hymnes de L'Église Copte Orthodoxe: Chœur de l'Institut d'Études Coptes / Egypt: Coptic Orthodox Church Hymns: Choir of the Institute of Coptic Studies. 2014. INEDIT. Maison des Cultures du Monde W 260151. Recorded by Rainer Engel. Annotated by Séverine Gabry-Thienpont. 28-page booklet with notes in French and English. English translation by Frank Kane. Colour photographs. CD, 11 tracks (77:55).

This is a beautiful collection of hymns from the living practice of the Coptic church in Egypt. Claimed to comprise 1,048 surviving melodies, the Coptic liturgical calendar is ordered in thirty-six occasions. This eleven-track CD collection covers a range of occasions, offering a sample of the characteristic dense melodic contour, as well as the rhythmic and antiphonal treatment with which Coptic chant is distinguished from other Late Antique Christian traditions in the region.

Today, a sense of identity is tied to a closely guarded musical and liturgical Coptic heritage. This important notion is addressed in the liner notes by Séverine Gabry-Thienpont, who considers language and music as "liturgical pillars." Gabry-Thienpont dates the origin of the Coptic language to the advent of Byzantine influence, which began in 395 AD, and describes it as "a mixture of spoken Egyptian and Greek. …

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