Adaptation of Μέγας Κύριος in English

GabrielCremeens

Music Director at St. George, Albuquerque, NM
#1
Hello all,

I recently started on a new composition project that I would like to share in hopes of getting some constructive feedback. I decided to try my hand at adapting the piece Μέγας Κύριος, by Fr. Gregorios of Simonopetra. When I heard it recently, I found it very striking, for two reasons:

1) For its hymnographical content - each of the 10 verses is begins with a psalm verse selection of an Eklogi from a feast of the Theotokos, followed by a two-line quote (in one verse, a three-line quote) from the Akathist hymn, all followed by the refrain, "Rejoice, thou Bride Unwedded."

2) For its musical structure. The piece works as follows: each psalm verse is in plagal fourth mode, but each verse from the Akathist modulates into a different mode (first, fourth legetos, second, varys diatonic, and so on) before returning to plagal fourth for the refrain "Rejoice, thou Bride Unwedded."

Thus far, I have adapted about half of the piece. I'm finding some verses more difficult than others. Any suggestions (how to better preserve the original melody) or corrections (using the wrong verse from the Psalms or the Akathist) would be appreciated.

I have found the following issues with the piece thus far, and would appreciate suggestions:

1) I feel that the melody I have selected for the word "the" on page 1, line 1, puts far too much emphasis on the word. I simply wrote this down without really looking it up, but my gut feeling on singing it is that it doesn't sound quite natural.

2) On page 4 (verse 6), I used a formula similar to the on the words "brought unto Thee", however, it is formulaically incorrect to do so, because it puts the emphasis on "to" in "unto", instead of "un". (I wrote this out hastily, to be used at the end of a service at the school. It is fully my intention to change it. However, I am having trouble getting the line to cadence on Vou before the section "with gladness and rejoicing", which I took directly from the original piece. Any suggestions, again, are appreciated.

3) On page 5, (verse 7), I have found two issues.

a) The section lines 2-3, "of the salvation of our God" seems to put undue emphasis on the word "of". Although the formula is listed as having this syllable as unaccented, it still sounds (to my ears) as though it is getting a great deal of emphasis.

b) While I was able to preserve at least part of the melody of the original on lines 3-4, ("Tree of goodly fruit"), I was not so successful in the rest of the piece. This is quite a shame, because the original melody is so distinct does anyone have suggestions for alternate theseis or melodic movements that preserve more of the "flavor" of the original?

I have attached a pdf of the Greek original, for ease of comparison.

I have one final question: can anyone explain to me the modulation that occurs in verse 9? (Page 6 of the Greek original pdf.) I'm having difficulty understanding exactly what modulation is going on here.

In Christ,
Gabriel
 

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#2
I have one final question: can anyone explain to me the modulation that occurs in verse 9? (Page 6 of the Greek original pdf.) I'm having difficulty understanding exactly what modulation is going on here.
The diatonic fthora (φθορά) for PA is placed on the NH martyrion, making it diatonic PA. Then, the fthora on KE (which is transposed "ZW") makes the melody Plagal of First Mode Pentaphonos.

In Christ,
Panagiotis
 

GabrielCremeens

Music Director at St. George, Albuquerque, NM
#4
Good morning all,

On Sunday, I finished typing up verses 1-9 of my adaptation of Μέγας Κύριος. I still plan on doing verse 10 (which modulates to varys diatoniko), but I am not sure if I will be able to complete it before Wednesday.

In the event that some of you might like to chant this on August 15 and the period afterward, attached is a pdf of the score. Please forgive any mistakes, and your comments, criticisms, and suggestions are really appreciated.

In Christ,
Gabriel
 

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GabrielCremeens

Music Director at St. George, Albuquerque, NM
#6
Looks lovely -- for those of us who may not be familiar with this particular composition, what's the liturgical context?
It's paraliturgical. I've given some information about the hymn itself (musical structure and the general "idea" of the hymn) in my first post. It was composed by Fr. Gregory of Simonopetra, and is found near the back of his Ψαλτήριον Τερπνόν.

Personally, I would do it at the end of a service (a Paraklesis, or any feast of the Theotokos, etc). I really liked it for its musical and poetic structure, so I decided to adapt it to English - there's no liturgical "need" for it.
 

GabrielCremeens

Music Director at St. George, Albuquerque, NM
#8
Great, thank you. Maybe I'll try it as a recessional after the Dormition liturgy.
I hope you have some good isokratima... it loses quite a bit without it, as the ison really brings out the different modal changes (all 9 of them, or 10 if I actually manage to finish the last verse).

For those who are interested, there is a recording of the Greek original piece at the end of the Simonopetra Small Paraklesis CD.
 

GabrielCremeens

Music Director at St. George, Albuquerque, NM
#9
Maybe this is somewhat fitting on the apodosis of the Dormition...

I've finished Verse 10, although I'm not quite satisfied with it... as usual, I would love any advice or suggestions on how to improve the piece.

The complete score is attached.

In Christ,
Gabriel

P.S. If anyone knows a good kratema in plagal fourth, I would love to see a score. There is a kratema at the end of the Greek original (see my first post), but I would prefer not to use that one - I'm looking for something a little more classical.
 

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#10
If anyone knows a good kratema in plagal fourth, I would love to see a score. There is a kratema at the end of the Greek original (see my first post), but I would prefer not to use that one - I'm looking for something a little more classical.
Here's a suggestion: Peter the Peloponnesian's kratima in plagal fourth mode found in the Kalophonic Heirmologion (Γρηγορίου Πρωτοψάλτου, Ειρμολόγιον Καλοφωνικόν, pp. 248-250). It is one and a half pages long and quite straightforward (no modulations, range from low Di to Zo').
 

GabrielCremeens

Music Director at St. George, Albuquerque, NM
#11
Thanks, Dr. Karanos. I've attached the files, and will type it up soon and include it in the pdf.

In Christ,
Gabriel
 

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