Good Friday in Jerusalem — a new CD from the male singers of Portland, Ore., choir Cappella Romana — hit Number 1 three days in a row last week on Amazon’s Hot 100 Classical bestsellers, and the album is now charting on Billboard’s national Classical chart at No. 8.
Sung entirely in Byzantine chant, the recording recreates a Good Friday service as it might have been celebrated in 10th-century Jerusalem. The choir and three cantors trace the Passion narrative with breathtaking solemnity and power. Their mastery of the liturgies’ ancient musical language transports contemporary Western listeners to a vastly different time and place while fathoming the still-familiar accounts of Holy Week.
Good Friday in Jerusalem was produced Classical MPR’s own Steve Barnett, who for two-and-a-half decades served as the chief music producer for the Peabody Award-winning series Saint Paul Sunday. Barnett is a three-time Grammy Award winner for his recordings with Chanticleer and is currently on staff at MPR to preserve and repurpose MPR’s and APM’s deep musical archive.