It is rather exciting to me that the Early Music Cappella Romana has released an entire album of the Hymns of Kassiani (Capella Records CR422 SACD). Kassiani (or Kassia as she has also been known) gives us the very earliest surviving music composed by a woman, from the 9th century--three centuries before Hildegard of Bingen.
This is meant to be a first volume in a series that will record all of Kassiani's works. This first program includes Byzantine Orthodox Chants for Christmas and Lent, performed in accordance with the historically informed practices now prevailing for Byzantine Chant.
The SACD hybrid ciotains high quality two-channel and 5.0 Surround mixes. The sound is excellent.
Cappella Romana gives us excellent, state-of-the-art performances of chants from male and mixed choirs, including two versions of her well-loved hymn for Holy Week. They are beautifully realized under the direction of Alexander Lingas.
This sort of Byzantine Chant includes as in the Western Organum style sustained drone vocal parts throughout for a stunning sound, bringing us to some of the most beautiful bedrock roots of Euro-Asian Christian Sacred Music.
To give you an idea of the overall sound here is a live sample of Cappella Romana performing Kassiani: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTGELv1dJZM
I strongly recommend this album for anyone seeking to experience an important element of historical lifeways in music. It is ravishing, invariably, and quite refreshing if you are not familiar. Either way this one is a milestone.