Making some search about music and instruments in Antiquity for one of my stories, I found this very interesting website that I want to share with you :
(Click on the photos to extend)
Photos legends : 1. Aulos (transverse flute), 2. Greek zither, 3. Kroupeza (percussion), 4. Lyre with seven strings, 5. Lyre with eight strings,
It is about a specialist in Ancient Greek and Roman music, Annie Bélis, who wanted to revive Ancient musical repertoire. For this, her and her ensemble were helped by two lutthiers who built the instruments like the authentic ones used in Greek and Roman antiquity.
After 15 centuries of oblivion, Annie Bélis and the Ensemble Kerylos bring back to life some part of pieces like Euripides’ Oreste, The Seikilos Song or the two Delphic Hymns to Pythian Apollo. What it is interesting on this website is that you can listen some extracts of music, even without buying the album. So, you can have an idea of what was like the music of this age. And I must say that I was really surprised in a nice way and also moved to discover this music after centuries of silence.
On the website, you will find too a presentation of the instruments used and their recording project (I chose to show you only the Greek ones). Sadly, on the english version they didn’t translated the articles about the repertoire, the extracts and the videos. So if you want to listen some extracts you have to go in the french version there :
In the videos, the first one, Anne Bélis pays hommage to Alexander the Great in saying they will listen to a music that this music’s conoisseur has loved and others, more recent, that he certainly would love. Each video is a presentation of different musical pieces. Anne Bélis and her musicians plunge us back in the universe of each chosen moments through history first. And it is very interesting to learn some story about musicians’ life and creation of some pieces.
Like, for example, the famous Themoteus of Miley who revolutionized antique music in adding until to four strings to the lyre. Creating innovative compositions who were criticated by the conservative Spartans and Athenians. These critics was so severe that Themotheus thought to suicide. But, fortunately, he received the support of Euripides who made him change his mind. Euripedes would have said : ” Those people who hate you, they will be one day to your knees “. Finally Themoteus joined Euripides in Macedon under the reign of Archaleus I (ancestor of Alexander the Great). So Alexander must have known and listened to his music.
About the Ensemble KERYLOS :
It was created in 1990 by Annie Bélis. Its interest goes to the interpretation of vocal and instrumental partitions from Greek and Roman Antiquity.
Its name came from a poetic term by which Ancients designated the legendary bird Halcyon and from the “hellenistic” villa built in Beaulieu-sur-mer (France) under archeologist Theodore Reinach‘s direction, a pionner in the study of antique music. This one with the help of Henri Weil, sigh-readed two hymns to Apollo discovered in Delphi and published in 1893 and 1894.