Phos Hilaron is a deeply devotional Ambient Soundscape with hymns nearly 2000 years old – we chant blissful peace in this perfect moment .
Paul Avgerinos ~ Chants, Choirs, Bass Violin, Fretless Bass, Guitars, Keyboards & Sound Design, Percussion
Kevin Braheny Fortune ~ EWI Electronic WInd Instrument
Jeff Pearce ~ Processed Guitars
John Widgren ~ Pedal Steel Guitar
Steve Waite ~ 12 String & Electric Guitars
Christine Yandell ~ Vocals
Phos Hilaron ( foss hill-a-ron ) “ Gracious Blessed Gladdening Light “, is one of the oldest known Christian hymns, and was sung in the catacombs in the Second Century. Saint Justin the Martyr cites the text of the hymn around 150 in his dialogue with Trypho. The “Lamp-lighting hymn” was described by Saint Basil around the year 365 as a hymn used centuries before him . Saint Athenogenes and ten disciples sang the Phos Hilaron in joy amidst the flames of martyrdom at Sebaste under the Emperor Diocletian in the year 305 .
Although it pre-dated the Byzantium, it is referred to as “Byzantine” since the hymn was used in the Byzantine vespers liturgy. It is clearly Greek in its musical form and composition while it has a text that is Jewish in origin and conforms to the Jewish calendar in which the day ends and begins at sunset .
Phos Hilaron is still sung in Greek Orthodox churches. It did not become part of the Western tradition until around 1700 and is now included in the Anglican Hymnal . The earliest English translation was made in 1675 . Translations following the line scheme of the original Greek were made by John Keble in 1834 and by Robert Bridges, poet laureate of England, in 1890 .
The version on this album is from the 1982 Hymnal of the Episcopal Church .
Phos Hilaron is your most incredible effort yet. This is spiritual clarity, musical channeling and deep chanting at its best. On behalf of all lovers of Sacred Music, we thank you.
PADMA – Mystic Radio
One of the most remarkable New Age recordings I have heard thus far in 2005.
Eric Cohen – WAER
Phos Hilaron is absolutely beautiful. It transcends the boundaries of one religion and enters the realm of The Sacred. I hear this music in my soul.
Karen Larsen – WERU
PHOS HILARON is #1 in the ‘Journeys to the Infinite’ May Chart reported to New Age Reporter and must be celebrated with joy and light. This is a true musical event. A special edition of my show was inspired by your new spiritual odyssey. I am grateful for this music and for the opportunity to share these heavenly melodies with my audience.
Marius-Christian Burcea – Delta RFI
One of the great cliches in ambient music is the use of chant. Often samples of recordings of Gregorian chant, occasionally simply a few voices overdubbed to give the illusion of a choir, religious chant, whether in Greek, Latin or Sanskrit is too often relegated to a kind of sonic wallpaper. This is perhaps inevitable in an increasingly secularized world. But its very use is in answer to a growing spiritual hunger. It calls to a kind of organic memory, leaving even the sceptic with a curious sense of calm, of uplift. And, it is so comfortable. After all, you can’t really tell what they are singing, so you don’t have to think on the words. It, therefore, takes a kind of daring to present the same musical element in English. But, that is precisely what American artist Paul Avgerinos has done with Phos Hilaron. Despite the Greek title, the hymns on this disc are all sung in English. A personal awakening led Avgerinos, best known for electro-ambient meditations, to re-connect with Christianity. It led him to his own church, the Episcopalian (Anglican). The selections on Phos Hilaron are all taken from the Episcopalian hymnal, but set in Avgerinos’ rich combination of electronic and acoustic instruments with the assistance of another fine artist, Kevin Braheny. The result is peaceful, reverent and moving. And, definitely not wallpaper.
Tony Dillon-Davis – CKUA
Humbly I Adore Thee
Humbly I adore thee, Verity unseen
who thy glory hidest, ‘neath these shadows mean
lo to thee surrendered my whole heart is bowed
tranced as it beholds thee, shrined within the cloud
Taste and touch and vision, to discern thee fail
faith that comes by hearing, pierces through the veil
I believe whate’er the Son of God hath told
what the Truth hath spoken, that for truth I hold
O memorial wondrous, of the Lord’s own death
living Bread that givest, all thy creatures breath
grant my spirit ever by thy life may live
to my taste thy sweetness, never failing give
Jesus whom now hidden, I by faith behold
what my soul doth long for, that thy word foretold
face to face thy splendor I at last shall see
in the glorious vision, blessed Lord of thee .
Words: Att. Thomas Aquinas (1225?–1274); sts. 1–3, tr. Hymnal 1940 © 1940 the Church Pension Fund.; st. 4, tr. Hymnal 1982. © 1986 the Church Pension Fund.
Music: Adoro devote, French church melody, Mode 5, Processionale, 1697
O Sons and Daughters
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia
O sons and daughters let us sing!
The King of heaven the glorious King
over death and hell rose triumphing, Alleluia !
That night the Apostles met in fear
amidst them came their Lord most dear
and said “ My Peace be on all here “, Alleluia !
When Thomas first the tidings heard
how they had seen the risen Lord
he doubted the disciples word, Alleluia !
My pierced side O Thomas see
my hands my feet I show to thee
not faithless but believing be, Alleluia !
No longer Thomas then denied
he saw the feet the hands the side
Thou art my Lord and God he cried, Alleluia !
How blest are they who have not seen
and yet whose faith has constant been
for they eternal life shall win, Alleluia !
Words: Att. Jean Tisserand (15th cent.); tr. John Mason Neale (1818–1866)
Music: O filii et filiae, melody from Airs sur les hymnes sacrez, odes et noëls, 1623
O gracious Light
pure brightness of the ever living Father in heaven
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed !
now as we come, to the setting of the sun
and our eyes behold the vesper light
we sing your praises O God
Father , Son , and Holy Spirit
You are worthy at all times
to be praised by happy voices
O Son of God, O Giver of life
and to be glorified throughout the worlds .
Music: Mode 2 melody, centonized by Bruce E. Ford (b. 1947) and James McGregor (b.1930) Melody © 1985, Bruce E. Ford
Anoint and Cheer
Come Holy Ghost our souls inspire
and lighten with celestial fire
Thou thee anointing Spirit art
who dost thy seven fold gifts impart
Thy blessed unction from above
is comfort, life and fire of love
enable with perpetual light
the dullness of our blinded sight
Anoint and cheer our soiled face
with the abundance of thy grace
keep far our foes, give peace at home
where thou art guide no ill can come
Teach us to know the Father , Son
and thee of both to be but One
that through the ages all along
this may be our endless song
praise to thy eternal merit
Father , Son and Holy Spirit
Words: Latin, 9th cent.; tr. John Cosin (1594–1672); para. of Veni Creator Spiritus
Music: Veni Creator Spiritus, plainsong, Mode 8
Song of Gladness
Alleluia, song of gladness
voice of joy that cannot die
alleluia is the anthem
ever raised by choirs on high
in the house of God abiding
thus they sing eternally
Alleluia though we cherish
and would chant for ever more
alleluia joyful mother
all thy children sing with thee
there to thee for ever singing
Words: Latin, 11th cent.; tr. John Mason Neale (1818–1866), alt.
Music: Urbs beata Jerusalem, plainsong, Mode 2, Nevers MS., 13th cent.
Lord, have mercy upon us
Christ, have mercy upon us
Music: From Missa Marialis; Plainsong, Mode 1; Mass 9, “Cum jubilo”; adapt. by Charles Winfred Douglas (1867–1944)
The Mystery Telling
Now my tongue the mystery telling
of the glorious Body sing
and the Blood all price excelling
which the Gentiles’ Lord and King
once on earth among us dwelling
shed for this world’s ransoming
Therefore we before him bending
this great Sacrament revere
types and shadows have their ending
for the newer rite is here
faith our outward sense befriending
makes our inward vision clear
Glory let us give and blessing
to the Father and the Son
honor thanks and praise addressing
while eternal ages run
ever too his love confessing
who from both with both is One
Words: Att. St. Thomas Aquinas (1225?–1274); ver. Hymnal 1940, rev. © 1940 the Church Pension Fund.
Music: Pange lingua, plainsong, Mode 3, Zisterzienser Hymnar, 14th cent.
O Heavenly Word
O Heavenly Word eternal Light
begotten of the Father’s might
who in these latter days wast born
for blessing to a world forlorn
Pour light upon us from above
and fire our hearts with ardent love
that as we hear thy truth today
all wrong desires may burn away
And when as judge thou drawest nigh
the secrets of our hearts to try
to recompense each hidden sin
and bid the saints their reign begin
O let us not for evil past
be driven from thy face at last
but with thy saints for ever more
behold thee love thee and adore
To God the Father, God the Son
and God the Spirit, ever One
praise honor might and glory be
from age to age eternally
Words: Latin, ca. 7th cent.; tr. Hymnal 1982
Music: Verbum supernum prodiens, plainsong, Mode 2, Nevers MS., 13th cent.
Recorded and mixed at Studio Unicorn Redding, CT