Free Concert in the Duomo: Voices of the Eastern Sacred Rite

A free concert will be hosted under Brunelleschi’s Dome on Thursday, July 5 at 9:15 pm, featuring the Tuscan premiere of the well-regarded St. Ephraim Men’s Choir. The performance will bring eastern sounds to a western venue in a pan-religious and pan-cultural program that demonstrates the versatility choral music across time and genre.

Hailing from Budapest, the group spotlights a distinctly Eastern European religious repertoire, ranging from ancient to modern. Voices from various Greek Catholic churches are united under conductor and performer Tamás Bubnó, winner of the Hungarian Artist Award in 2017. He has approached music from an analytical perspective as well, engaging in extensive doctoral research on Orthodox Greek melodies from Hungary and the Carpathian Mountains.

The men of St. Ephraim stay true to their origins in the religious music of Byzantine rite, while simultaneously juxtaposing it with the livelier, folk-based contemporary sounds of their region. displayed in the works of Liszt, Bartók, and Kodály (the latter two being Hungary’s most beloved musical legends). They will also perform Psalm 127 (put to music by the choir’s own Bubnó) and Psalm 3 (by Péter Zombola), another glimpse into the religious and musical traditions of their homeland.

The choir doesn’t only restrict itself to its own religious and geographical milieu. It also pays homage to the iconic venue of the Duomo with a motet: Cantate Deo by Giovanni Maria Casini, the cathedral’s organist between 17th and 18th centuries. They reach beyond the European, Christian ambit as well, performing a South African gospel song and a Hindu hymn.

This performance is part of “O flos colende,” the Opera of Santa Maria del Fiore’s concert series. To reserve a free ticket for the concert call 055.2302885 or see the Opera Duomo website.

(tyler bunton)