DISCOVERED BY RUFUS WAINWRIGHT!



The  story of the incorporation of my ancient lyre theme, "Hymn to Zeus" in two scenes of Rufus Wainright's second opera, "Hadrian" was featured in an article in "The Globe and Mail" - one of the biggest daily newspapers in Canada! The full story can be found here


 

Due to the recent fascinating cross-cultural and international interest in my musical mission, the story of my efforts to reintroduce the ancient musical modes and recreated lyres of antiquity back into the modern musical world featured in a story published in the Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)...







The complete story, entitled "Playing the Music of the Pharaohs and Prophets" can be read here



 

The story of my lyre music has just gone to print in "The Hindu", India's no.1 literary English daily in the prestigious section 'Friday Review' where international artists of high caliber are featured: and the biggest English language newspaper in the whole of Southeast Asia!





The complete online article can be read here and a free PDF of the actual newspaper story can be downloaded here

MY ARRANGEMENT FOR OF THE WORLD'S OLDEST SONG IN THE WORLD'S BIGGEST ONLINE ENGLISH LANGUAGE NEWSPAPER!



In July 2016, my increasingly viral video of my arrangement for solo lyre of the oldest known notated melody; the bronze age Hurrian Hymn Text H6, was featured in the Daily Mail Online - the biggest online English language newspaper on the planet!

The full story can be found here


 

My efforts to bring new life to the ancient lyre finally gained international academic recognition in a full length article, published in the Summer 2013 edition of "The American Harp Journal"


The paper by Diana Rowan includes an analysis of my work, along with the work of the Ethiopian Begena player, Temesgen Hussein and Michalis Georgiou, the founder of Terpandros, the The Cyprus Ensemble of Ancient Greek Musical Instruments.



A PDF of the paper, entitled "The Universal Lyre: Three Perspectives" can be freely downloaded from here

The article can also be read and shared online on Questia

 


 

KING DAVID'S LYRE; ECHOES OF ANCIENT ISRAEL

News of my debut album, "King David's Lyre; Echoes of Ancient Israel" was published in the following press release to the Jewish Chronicle, back in 2008:

 The full story can be read here


 

My 'New Ancestral Musical Revolution' just prominently featured in an article on early music published by Bandcamp, (one of the most renowned digital music stores for the independent artist), entitled "The Search for the Oldest Music on Bandcamp".






The complete article can be found here


 

King David's Lyre; Echoes of Ancient Israel

Michael Levy has reconstructed ancient Hebrew music on his lyre. Michael Levy is truly an original -- although the music he plays is largley forgotten. He takes the oldest music in the world and plays them on the lyre -- the way it is meant to be played -- resuscitating the music back to life. There is something ancient, primal, & primordial to the music he creates. Michael is real passionate musician, and his music is one of my greatest personal discoveries I found last year. Other albums include "The Ancient Egyptian Harp" and "Ancient Landscapes."

Michael Levy: King David’s Lyre...

 Levy is a descendant of the Levites, the musicians in the Holy Temple. Like them, he plays a 10-stringed lyre. The experience of hearing melodies like “Oh Chanukah,” “Araber Tantz,” and “Hatikva” played on an instrument that predated them by millennia is exhilarating. It is the sound of Jewish history itself. The lyre’s sound is often like the guitar, but also tones of the lute, oud, balalaika and its other ancestors can be heard. Hearing its bejeweled tones, and then recognizing among them a familiar melody, is revelation. The lyre’s design was taken from coins dating from the Second Temple period; it is probable that the Levites who played at the rededication of the Temple—a festival they called “Chanukah”— would recognize this instrument and its sound.


My arrangement for solo lyre of the oldest known complete song so far known from antiquity, the 2000 year old ancient Greek drinking song, "Epitaph of Seikilos", has been featured in a newspaper story on he other side of the world, in the Australian Daily Telegraph.The complete story can be read here

 

THE MUSIC OF THE ANCIENT WORLD: INTRODUCING THE WORKS OF MICHAEL LEVY


In December of 2013 I stumbled upon the website of Michael Levy. He can be described as a composer for the lyre, an instrument that has its roots in ancient world. I immediately began to appreciate his music as it was a doorway to our past. As a result I ended up purchasing digital copies of his music on Amazon, specifically from the album titled The Ancient Greek Lyre. It was such a great listen that I even wrote a review:


'History Brought to Life


Michael Levy, a talented musician, has done an excellent job of reviving the music of the ancient world. I can only imagine the ancient Greek symposium where philosophical debates (and drinking) took place whilst being entertained by beautiful music such as this. Or when epics such as Homer’s Iliad & Odyssey were sung to the lyre. I am extremely grateful for stumbling onto his work.


I also placed one of the tracks (Hymn to the Muse) as the background music to my project, 'An Age of Heroes'.


I mention all of this because I follow Michael on both YouTube and Google+ and he routinely posts updates and new compositions always worth listening to. So if you desire to listen to the music of the ancient world, that is ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Hurrian, etc., I would definitely check out his work. It truly does bring the old world history to life.

I first found Michael Levy’s music by watching one of his YouTube videos that had him playing ancient Greek melodies. When you listen to his music, you’ll find that his mastery of the instrument is clear and his musical sensitivity and talent are also evident. In terms of his technique as well as sense of melody and rhythm, the pieces are intriguing.

His thriving individuality and creative expression resulting in one of the most authentic ancient music recreations of
our time.

Thank you for this highly informative interview, it’s a good way for fans to get to know more about Michael Levy.

Michael Levy’s extreme roots music and the oldest song in the world...

Getting back to one’s roots via music is a venerable and worthwhile pursuit, but few have taken the quest as far as Michael Levy. He’s reconstructing the music of his ancestors from over 3000 years ago!

Levy, a 40-something native of the UK, began exploring his musical heritage as a Klezmer fiddler, playing the old Jewish music of Eastern Europe. Perhaps the traditional scales of Klezmer piqued an interest in other unusual scales, as he later became a student of middle-eastern music, and then in the ancient music of the region, particularly lyre music.

He has studied the lyres and lyre playing techniques of the ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians and Hebrews, among others. Written music and descriptions of ancient playing techniques exist, but they are scanty, so Levy has also studied the musicians where the lyre-playing tradition still lives in North Africa and elsewhere.

His reconstructions of ancient music undoubtedly involve some speculation. But he has approached ancient lyres with the sensibility of a musican, and the results are fascinating and haunting.

The lyre produces two distinctive sounds, a harp-like tone produced by plucking with the fingers of the left hand, and a more biting tone produced by picking the strings with the right hand. This is fun to watch.

The subject of tuning the lyre is endless, but I’ll not go into it here, except to note that Levy began tuning the lyre using standard Western scales, but eventually began to explore “just” intonation, in which the frequencies of the strings are related by integer ratios. I’ll probably have a lot more to say about that at a later time, but you can listen here to try to discern the difference in sound from modern music.

Levy has hundreds of videos on youtube, and a ton of albums on iTunes that you can sample. I’ve listened to a lot of these, and I find them by turns relaxing and strangely haunting. There’s a ton of additional background information on his website as well. I’ll leave the exploring to you, but by all means check it out.

I originally learned of Levy when I became curious about what the oldest known written music might be. It happens to be “Hurrian Hymn no.6″, which was written on a clay tablet 3400 years ago. The tablet was discovered in the 1950′s in Syria, and eventually decoded in the seventies. Levy had the good fortune to be chosen to record the melody. In his own words:

In my arrangement of the Hurrian Hymn, I have attempted to illustrate an interesting diversity of ancient lyre playing techniques, ranging from the use of “block and strum” improvisation at the end, glissando’s, trills & tremolos, and alternating between harp-like tones in the left hand produced by finger-plucked strings, and guitar-like tones in the right hand, produced by use of the plectrum.

You can hear this haunting echo of an inconceivably old civilization here. Thanks to Michael Levy, the “musical shaman,” for this fascinating work.

The Epic Poetry of the Lyre...

From the lullaby-esque pluckings of “Awe of the Aten” to the pulsing intensity of “The Battle of Thermoplyae,” Musical Adventures in Time Travel… moves its listeners from the biblical to the lyrical via the beautiful vibrations of the one of music’s most ancient instruments, the lyre. In his Michael Levy’s hands, this instrument becomes at times soft and playful, at others robust and powerful, but always arresting. Here the narrative strings speak as would a poet were playing them, and in fact even in place of the poet.

Michael Levy is the lyre’s contemporary virtuoso, a poet of the past whose words are the struck and plucked notes of his lyre. I would recommend this album to anyone who wants to hear the visceral beauty of sound stripped down to strings, music laid bare, beautiful.


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