Various Artists

Apollo & Dionysus: Sounds from Classical Antiquity

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The fifth and final volume of Delphian's European Music Archaeology Project is a collection of fragments and speculative realizations of ancient music from Greece titled Apollo & Dionysus: Sounds from Classical Antiquity. Based on stone carvings and papyri which have been dated between 300 BCE and 300 CE, the musical notation has been deciphered by authorities of the ancient Greek world, so these are accurate and somewhat substantial reconstructions, though mostly consisting of monophonic lines that are only as varied in color as the EMAP players from the University of Huddersfield can make them sound. Vocalist and lyre player Stef Conner is joined by Barnaby Brown on aulos (a double-pipe wind instrument), Callum Armstrong on aulos and plagiaulos (a single pipe), Olga Sutkowska on aulos, John Kenny on lituus (a long, trumpet-like instrument), Justus Willberg on hydralis (a water organ) and aulos, and Rupert Till on hydralis and percussion, though the instrumentation is spread over the album and not concentrated in one place. This album succeeds as a sampler of ancient music because the selections are quite short and easy to absorb, due to their simplicity, though within a single piece there can be many subtle variations of sonorities, as in Low and Sweet, where Kenny demonstrates the full timbral range of the lituus, and in Willberg's explorations of the Bellerman fragments on the hydralis, which at times have surprisingly modern-sounding textures. Recommended for fans of really early music and students of ancient history and archaeology.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 6:31
2 0:56
Plagiaulos variations (after Bellermann §101)
3 1:12
4 3:15
5 5:17
Anonymi Bellermann
6 0:30
7 2:37
8 0:59
9 1:29
10 2:23
11 3:56
12 1:24
Plagiaulos variations (after Bellermann §101)
13 2:20
14 0:54
15 0:52
16 1:41
Anonymi Bellermann
17 0:38
18 0:43
19 0:44
20 2:31
21 4:33
Aulos variations (after Bellermann §98)
22 3:13
23 1:01
24 0:59
Aulos variations (after Bellermann §98)
25 3:47
26 1:27
blue highlight denotes track pick