Orthodox Christian Network brings you news of events and people important to the life of the Orthodox Church around the world. OCN highlights media organizations that track these important stories.
At this year’s All-American Council in Atlanta, St. Tikhon’s Monastery Press unveiled a limited pre-release draft edition of its forthcoming publication, A Common Book of Church Hymns: Divine Liturgy, compiled and edited by Benedict Sheehan. This is St. Tikhon’s first major music publication in decades, and perhaps its most comprehensive musical publication to date. From the introduction by Vladimir Morosan:
The present collection addresses an essential and fundamental need: the availability, under a single cover, of practically all the hymns, unchanging as well as variable, necessary for the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in the English language, set to melodies that allow for an aesthetically pleasing and stylistically unified rendition by a single chanter—if only one is present—or by a small ensemble of singers. In this regard, it constitutes an unprecedented liturgical music resource on North American soil, which carries the potential of transforming the musical aspect of Orthodox worship in small missionary parishes or in established parishes with small choirs and in other situations of evangelistic outreach, such as prisons, hospitals, military units, and mission stations.
A Common Book of Church Hymns: Divine Liturgy is a 238-page anthology of traditional chant melodies in the mainstream Russian tradition, written on one staff, and arranged so that it may be sung satisfactorily by one, two, three, or four voices. As Benedict Sheehan states in his preface, the present collection “is the first volume in English that attempts to rival the existing Slavonic obikhods both in terms of comprehensiveness and in terms of easy adaptability to small ensembles or solo chanters.”
The draft edition of A Common Book of Church Hymns: Divine Liturgy is being released in softcover format in order to give the book a trial period prior to large-scale publication. During the trial period purchasers of the book will be invited to submit feedback to STM Press. Anyone who purchases the draft edition will be eligible to purchase the final hardcover edition of the book at a discount when the final edition is released. According to on-the-ground reports, the first printing of the draft edition is currently nearly sold out from St. Tikhon’s Bookstore, although more copies may still be available to those present at the AAC. Plans are being made for a reprint in the immediate future. Check with St. Tikhon’s Bookstore at stspress.com for more details.