miércoles, 1 de abril de 2015

Michael Levy's Ancient Lyre

My reviews of some of Michael Levy's Ancient Lyre albums. Check out more of his work at www.ancientlyre.com 

Ancient Visions.



Michael Levy is one of the few musicians out there producing work which evokes the spirit of the ancient world. While his pieces are mainly original compositions, they are backed up with a good scholarly knowledge of how these instruments were played and remain true to the sounds of antiquity in their austere eloquence as pieces for solo lyre.

This record is inspired by the haunting sounds of Mesopotamia and makes us think of all the ancient beauty which is now sadly lost to us. That loss is made somewhat less painful by Michael's dedication to reviving the sounds of those long forgotten times.

Ode to Ancient Rome


Michael Levy's experience as an ancient lyre player has brought us this collection of wonderful tunes which do very well to take us back to classical times. He manages to recapture the feeling of Rome in all its stoical splendour. The pieces offered here give us a deep sense of tranquility which is something to be much appreciated in our modern musical era.

Michael's music is also the perfect classical reading accompaniment, so next time you pick up a book by the likes of Ovid or Homer, put this record on and let yourself be carried away by the muses.

21st Century Lyre Music


This EP is part of Michael Levy's ongoing quest to bring the musical instruments of antiquity back to us. This time however, he shows us that the lyre is not only for the tastes of the sentimentalists of the past, but should also be an instrument for our own times too. In a world with such a constantly stressful pace of life as ours, we need the calming sounds of the lyre more than ever. 

Here Michael experiments with different modern sound effects which have lead him to some rather interesting results and manage to evoke a glimpse of something of vast potential proportions, all of which indicates this instrument's potential for 21st century culture. Indeed the way back is the way forward, and if our own culture can regain the harmony of classical austerity, we shall all be the richer for it. If that is not enough, It also makes for a great meditation experience!

The Lyre of Apollo


This new selection of tracks are played on a recently developed replica of an Ancient Greek lyre, which adds to the authenticity which Michael Levy strives to bring to our understanding of the ancient art of the muses. There are several of his earlier pieces presented again to us here and the difference is palpable, this new lyre has a much deeper sounding resonance. You can hear Michael's experience on the lyre in the variety of different techniques he uses and it seems that he has here reached a new level in the development of his craft. 

What distinguishes his pieces is the Horatian golden mean which he manages to strike between a purely scholarly approach remaining true to original fragments together with a more openly creative artistic license taken with what the ancients mean to us today. He uses what has survived with respect but isn't afraid to fill in the gaps, as it were, to help us towards a deeper appreciation. A good example of this is stand out track "Skolion of Seikilos", one of the few pieces which have come down to us in its entirety. It has a singularly calming beauty in spite of being a song for a drinking party! So pick up a copy of Plato's symposium and this record will take you closer to it than ever.

The Lyre of Hermes


According to Greek myth, it was Hermes who invented the tortoise shell lyre and that is the premise from which Michael Levy begins his latest collection of lyre pieces. The lyre of Hermes certainly has a richer quality of sound, helping to distinguish it from the more commonly heard sound of the harp. Stand out tracks include "Lampades (Nymphs of Hades)" which demonstrates Michael's growing virtuosity along with other techniques he is developing with this new lyre. So if you want to deepen the mood whilst reading the classics, this is the perfect thing to listen to.

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