This album is a unique compilation of some of the very best tracks from my many Albums of Ancient Lyre Music. The repertoire on this album includes my arrangement on replica 3000 year old Lyre, of the oldest known written musical fragment so far discovered, in my performance of Dr Dumbrill’s interpretation of Hurrian Hymn (Text H6) from ancient Ugarit in Mesopotamia (a video of my live performance of this piece, recently featured in the world-acclaimed “Biblical Archaeological Review”).
The track “Shadow of the Ziggurat” was originally recorded for my album, “Ancient Visions – New Compositions For An Ancient Lyre”. This album features original compositions for my replica 3000 year old lyre, inspired by ancient Mesopotamia. “Shadow of the Ziggurat” explores an ancient percussive style of lyre playing, whereby the strings of the lyre, instead of being plucked with either the fingers or a plectrum, are hit with a wooden baton (similar to a modern hammered dulcimer). This technique can be seen on the famous Bas Reliefs of musicians from the ruins of the Palace at Nineveh – these reliefs date back to c.700BCE:
I also explore an evocation of the music of Ancient Egypt, in my performance
of improvisations on some of the actual Ancient Egyptian minor pentatonic
scales, as deciphered by the late Professor Hans Hickmann of the Museum in
Cairo, from chironomy gestures – chironomy is an ancient form of musical
notation dating back to the 4th Dynasty, whereby specific hand gestures
represented specific changes in the pitch of a melody:
These improvisations are “Echoes of Ancient Egypt” (from my album, “An Ancient Lyre”) & “The Music of Moses” (from my album, “King David’s Lyre;Echoes of Ancient Israel”).
I also further experiment at evoking the music of Ancient Egypt, in my arrangement for lyre, of some traditional Egyptian folk songs from Port Said in my albums “An Ancient Lyre” & “Apollos’ Lyre” – the track “Hymn to Horus”(originally from my album “Apollo’s Lyre”) is my re-named arrangement for my replica lyre, of the Egyptian folk song, “One Day We Blamed Eachother”
I then explore an evocation of the Music of Ancient Israel, with a selection of tracks (some renamed for this album), originally heard on from albums, “King David’s Lyre; Echoes of Ancient Israel”, “Lyre of the Levites” & “The Ancient Biblical Lyre”….
The tracks “The Music of Moses”, “The Temple of Jerusalem” & “Ark of the Covenant” are taken from my album “King David’s Lyre; Echoes of Ancient Israel” & “Lyres of the Levites” can be heard on track 1 on my album, “Lyre of the Levites”. These 2 albums explore the sound of the 10-string Biblical “Kinnor” – the 10-string lyre once played by my very own, very ancient Levite ancestors in the Temple of Jerusalem to accompany the singing of the Levitical Choir…now that’s what I call “Roots Music”!
The tracks “King David Danced” & “Ashir Shirim” can be originally heard on my album, “The Ancient Biblical Lyre”. This album explored the sound of the elusive Biblical “Nevel” – a 12 string lyre also played by the Levites in the Temple of Jerusalem. From the writings of Flavius Josephus & the Mishna (an early Rabbinical text), there is evidence to suggest this was a skin-membrane lyre, similar to the ancient Greek Lyra or Barbitos…
We then move on our “Musical Adventure in Time Travel” to hear some of the actual music of Ancient Greece!
We then arrive in ancient Rome, with the track “Roman Banquet”, originally heard on my EP album, “Echoes of Ancient Rome”.
This album features 7 original compositions for lyre in a selection of authentic ancient musical modes. The compositions on this album were mainly inspired by the Temples of Ancient Rome.
This compilation closes with my meditative composition for replica 3000 year old Lyre, “Ancient Vibrations” – a spontaneous improvisation on an ancient Middle Eastern scale. This piece originally featured as track 6, from my album “Ancient Vibrations”
THE 21 TRACKS
1. Hurrian Hymn (Ancient Mesopotamian Musical Fragment c.1400BCE, Arranged For Replica 3000 Year Old Lyre)
My performance of the 3400 year old “Hurrian Hymn” heard here recently featured in the Internationally renowned pages of “The Biblical Archaeological Review”
This track is Domink Johnson’s masterful remix of my original recording of the piece on my album “An Ancient Lyre” – this new mix features reverb authentically sampled from actual ancient Middle Eastern caves!
The 3400 year old “Hurrian Hymn” (Text H6) which was discovered in Ugarit in Syria in the early 1950s, and was preserved for 3400 years on a clay tablet, written in the Cuneiform text of the ancient Hurrian language – it is the oldest written song yet known, in History!
Although 29 musical texts were discovered at Ugarit, only this text, (text H6), was in a sufficient state of preservation to allow for modern academic musical reconstruction.
In short, the Cuneiform text clearly indicated specific names for lyre strings, and their respective musical intervals – a sort of “Guitar tablature”, for lyre!
Although discovered in modern day Syria, the Hurrians were not Syrian – they came from modern day Anatolia. The Hurrian Hymn actually dates to the very end of the Hurrian civilisation (c.1400BCE) .The Hurrian civilization dates back to at least 3000 BCE. It is an incredible thought, that just maybe, the musical texts found at Ugarit, preserved precious sacred Hurrian music which may have already been thousands of years old, prior to their inscription for posterity, on the clay tablets found at Ugarit!
The replica of the ancient Kinnor Lyre from neighbouring Israel, on which I am performing the piece, is almost tonally identical to the wooden asymmetric-shaped lyres played throughout the Middle East at this amazingly distant time…when the Pharaoh’s still ruled ancient Egypt.
(TO BE CONTINUED)