It is my ongoing musical mission, to reintroduce the recreated lyres of antiquity and the ancient musical modes and intonations once played on them, back into the modern musical world - part of that mission is, of course, to inspire other musicians/composers with a similar vision, to take part in this 'new ancestral music revolution', which hopefully some day, will bring back some spirit to our soulless, sterile modern musical experience - I am delighted to announce that this musical mission has already bore its 'first fruits'!
REINTRODUCING THE RECREATED ANCIENT LYRE IN SPAIN!
First, let me introduce my most enlightened 'lyre disciple' to date - the young and upcoming Spanish composer/performer of the recreated lyre, Antonio Fernández Blázquez...
In Antonio's own words:
"In the course of 2014-2015, I was currently studying Latin and Greek languages. As my interest and love to classic culture was rising stronger and stronger, a simple search on YouTube "ancient Greek music" drove me to discover Michael Levy's music.
Ancient, long forgotten landscapes suddenly opened before my imagination, as Michael continued to play his lyre, evoking ancient Jerusalem, Greece and Rome.
I have spent since 2010 playing electric and acoustic guitar, but somehow felt so attracted to this different, more profound, timeless music. That's when I was as daring as to ask Michael if he would spare me one of his old lyres, pretty much convinced on how absurd it was of me to even expect a response to such peculiar petition. Surprisingly enough for me, Michael offered me his Nevel Harp!
My musical journey has taken a deep and radical change of direction ever since, as I was able to create music that was irradiating with magic and a much more wide range of pure, human emotions.
After having a hard year in 2016 due to personal events, Luthieros Musical Instruments agreed to collaborate with me, and everything started to improve in my life, as I was able to feel joy and bliss once again, this time with a new instrument, the "Lyre of Apollo II"!
I just wanted to finish this text by showing my most sincere gratefulness to Mr Levy, for showing me the path of the Ancient Lyre, I've now learned that it is something very special and unique in this modern world, which is in need of music that allows the spirit to connect with its roots.
Special shout out as well to the rest of my "lyre family", Leigh Cobley (creator and writer of http://tempsrevient.blogspot.com.es/ as well as composer for lyre “Ataraxia” on YouTube) and Theodore Koumartzis, whose collaboration is being so smooth and pleasant.
Thank you so much to all of you for crossing paths in this life...
Antonio Fernández Blázque"
Here are some examples of Antonio's new beautifully evocative compositions for the recreated ancient lyre on his YouTube channel, featuring the Luthieros Lyre of Apollo II:
HORA DE MORIR (TIME TO DIE)
ANGELS FLEW INTO THE HANDS OF GOD
SONG OF THE RUNNING HORSE
EL LAMENTO DE ÍCARO
Such is Antonio's devotion to his newly mastered recreated ancient musical craft, that he has also started a collaboration in the Luthieros Lyre 2.0 Project (dedicated to reintroducing the ancient lyre back into the hands of every visionary modern musician), promoting their beautiful instruments in Spain!
As part of Antonio's collaboration in the 'Lyre 2.0 Project', is his current project in translating the booklet, "A Brief History of the Lyre" which I wrote as part of my own collaboration in the Luthieros project (included with each Luthieros lyre sold), into Spanish - I never imagined that there could be such dynamic international collaboration in my musical vision for the future!
Secondly, let me introduce another aspiring contemporary composer/performer of the recreated lyre, Leigh Cobley. As Antonio mentioned himself, Leigh Cobley is another inspirational new composer for lyre, also living in Spain...
Leigh has even produced his own album of new ancestral music for lyre, "The Archaic Recurrence" on Bandcamp:
Leigh describes his own musical mission in more detail below, which is virtually parallel to my own:
"Ataraxia: The Archaic Recurrence...
The music that has always fascinated me the most is that which captures an archaic, tribal, primitivistic sense of the origins of music in its pure ritualistic form. I have always been fascinated by the breadth of instruments that we have created over our history and perplexed by the relatively limited choice of instruments generally used in music today. As a guitarist, the raw acoustic sound of cross picked strings was where I first found that type of musical resolution or catharsis. Yet there was always something missing, as with the guitar itself being a relatively modern instrument, it seemed a bit of an anachronism for my purposes. The lyre was the obvious alternative choice as it had both that ancient vibe which I had been looking for, along with the style of playing that had attracted me to the guitar in the first place.I have no pretensions of recreating music "as it was." What I am doing is purely contemporary in its conception of capturing the essence of what those instruments, times and rites mean to us today. The past is something distinctly unknowable and hence exotic, all the better for any musical flights of fancy. My techniques of course include habits developed from the culture in which I grew up, which is inevitable to a certain extent. Nevertheless, I hope they manage to transcend the limits of the here and now.
I chose the name Ataraxia for a simple reason as it seemed to best describe the lyre's ability to calm the mind, something which seems even more germane to the stress relief needs of our current culture. It is this instrument that has brought me closest to that original sense of musical catharsis.
The notion which best sums up my project and is the main yardstick by which I judge the success of any particular track, is perhaps very typically English in its perception of the classical past, as it comes from George Bernard Shaw's play "Back to Methuselah." It is a section of the play called "As Far As Thought Can Travel" in which a future civilization reattains the austere beauty and simplicity of classical Greece. I imagine those great childlike geniuses of Shaw's play would have (or perhaps one day in fact will) play something quite similar to my modest attempts in returning music to its ancient muses and learning to listen to itself once again."
Below are some examples of Leigh's inspirational new compositions for the recreated ancient lyre. Leigh's lyre playing techniques feature his own distinctive guitar-like finger plucking style, plus other plectrum techniques he uses, some of which are influenced by my own; for example, using the plectrum to create tremolo effects.
The first example, features a delightfully exotic combination of ancient musical timbres, fused in this improvisation for the Lutherios Lyre of Hermes and Tibetan Bowl:
ATARAXIA DELTA (TIBETAN BOWL & GREEK LYRE)
The next video features a 'live' performance, featuring some interesting finger-style techniques, in the distinctively poignant ancient Greek phrygian mode:
ODE TO ATHENA
The next example of Leigh's work, includes this delightful, meditative piece, recorded with the timeless sounds of nature,to create a feeling of sitting in the gardens of Epicurus:
Περι Θυσεως / ON NATURE (GREEK LYRE & NATURE SOUNDS)
The final example of Leigh's work features a studio recorded version of his lyre song "On the Soul", inspired by Aristotle's "De Anima". This piece is an attempt to create lyre music to mediate on with slow, soothing strings & minimalist percussion. I very much like the variety of playing techniques in this piece, including 'block and strum', chord plucking, tremolo plectrum plucking and the clearly defined sections providing a balanced sense of structure:
ON THE SOUL
Besides Leigh's YouTube Channel, he regularly shares his fascinating new compositions for the recreated ancient lyre on his Atraxia Soundcloud Channel
Leigh also regularly writes fascinating new articles on all things ancient and mystical in his blog spot, "Le Temps Revient"
OTHER NEW ASPIRING COMPOSERS FOR LYRE -
INSPIRED BY MY MUSICAL MISSION!
Besides the monumental efforts of Antonio in joining my mission to inspire others to create new music for the ancient lyre, I was also recently delighted to stumble across this evocative piece of new lyre music, "Ode to Phoebus", composed and performed by the American musician, Thorrin Jonsson - directly inspired by me:
As Thorrin says in the video description, regarding his influences:
"Many great aspirations of mine have been being pursued successfully; one of which, was obtaining a classical lyre. Somewhat recently I'd come upon Michael Levy's works, and his albums of Ancient Greek and 'Roman' compositions were and are a wondrous inspiration to me, and made me realize that my wish of being able to do something similar - which I'd daydreamed of many times before hearing his music - was entirely possible...
I thought it only fitting that my first composition for lyre should be to he who presides over the grace of the lyre and music in Greco-Roman tradition (seeing that is the style I am going after), Phoebus Apollo. The epithet 'Phoebus' can be translated as Light-bearing, Illuminating - and thus we can see the connections that were often made with him with things like Truth and Righteousness, etc.
The pictures presented here are of Delphi, the great shrine of Phoebus"
It is truly an honour to see the legacy I wish to leave to music, of reintroducing the recreated lyres of antiquity back into the modern musical world, begin to come to life!