Great Hellenic music

I just found out, courtesy of fellow Hellenist Todd Jackson (thanks, Todd!), that an amazing piece of music is now available in the US  – Yannis Markopoulos’ choral masterpiece, The Liturgy of Orpheus. It can be bought on iTunes, or ordered either on CD or download from the Naxos website.

I first came across this work in a used CD store (in the original Greek recording) right at the time that I was discovering the existence of  modern Hellenismos, and I still believe that this “coincidence” was one of the factors that led me to realize that it was a viable spiritual path for me.

The US release is a new recording – the narration that introduces almost every song is in English in this version, but as far as I can tell from the samples I could hear, the songs are still sung in Greek. Here’s a track from the original Greek recording – the whole piece is this good.

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13 thoughts on “Great Hellenic music

  1. executivepagan Post author

    Very little that I’ve found… other than Kore Evohe. I have created a fairly good-sized page of Hellenic-themed music on the Neos Alexandria website, with works covering the whole spectrum of styles and genres. I’m working on an update to it currently, so keep checking back there. It’s certainly not even comprehensive at this point, never mind “complete”… but it’s a beginning.

  2. Kullervo

    Cool stuff on there. Led Zep’s “Achilles Last Stand” does not have an apostrophe, though.

    Also, you should include Iron Maiden’s “Flight of Icarus.”

  3. executivepagan Post author

    *shrug*

    The little I see in Encyclopedia Metallum seems to be black metal (Kawir, and so on), which I guess is different from folk metal somehow?

  4. Hrafnkell

    Great! Can’t wait to listen to it (when my little boy is in bed. Every time I turn the sound up he starts talking lol. Thanks for posting this! I heard just enough to intrigue me.

  5. executivepagan Post author

    Kullervo,
    Must be a generational thing… once it gets harder than, say, Iron Maiden or Rhea’s Obsession, the only real difference I hear is whether the guy is screaming or growling. I’m 43, so I grew up musically just before Industrial hit, much less thrash metal and what came after. I can take a little bit of Einsturzende Neubaten, for instance, but I can’t handle Swans… and most of what I heard when I Googled “hellenic metal” just hit my ears as noise.

    Hrafnkell,
    Enjoy! It’s an amazing piece of work. He also wrote music for two of Aristophanes’ plays, Lysistrata and Thesmophoriazusae, but I haven’t had a chance to hear that yet.

  6. Kullervo

    Well, the real folk metal bands that I know of–mostly Scandinavian and Finnish–go back and forth a bit between harsh and clean vocals. But the defining characteristic is the folk influence: lots of folk instruments, folk song structures, often mythological or folkloric themes in the lyrics. I mean, also double bass and brutal guitars, of course. But the result is often decently melodic, not too much harder than the harder bits of Maiden’s catalogue.

  7. painandlight

    Must be a generational thing… once it gets harder than, say, Iron Maiden or Rhea’s Obsession, the only real difference I hear is whether the guy is screaming or growling.

    Wow…someone else who’s heard of Rhea’s Obsession? Impressive!

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