Your price

The Gardens of Alcinous

Track download

Please choose a price: $ USD ($0.99 or more)

Please pay at least $0.99

Out of stock

This piece features a composition for solo lyre in the distinctively dreamy & sensual ancient Greek Hypolydian Mode (equivalent intervals as F-F on the white notes of the piano & misnamed the 'Lydian' mode in the early Middle Ages).

Whenever I play anything in this gorgeously sensual mode, it conjures up imagery in my mind, of sweetly scented flowers - amazingly, I recently discovered that exactly the same mode was also used in ancient Persia where it was known as "Golestan" - which amazingly, translates as "Flower Garden"!

The garden of Alcinous was said to be situated in an island of that name, by some considered Corfu, in the Ionian sea, and by others an Asiatic island. It is minutely described by Homer in the Odyssey:

"Close to the gates a spacious garden lies,
From storms defended, and inclement skies:
Four acres was th' allotted space of ground,
Fenc'd with a green enclosure all around.
Tall thriving trees confess'd the fruitful mold;
The red'ning apple ripens here to gold,
Here the blue fig with luscious juice o'erflows,
With deeper red the full pomegranate glows,
The branch here bends beneath the weighty pear,
And verdant olives flourish round the year.
The balmy spirit of the western gale
Eternal breathes on fruits untaught to fail:
Each dropping pear a following pear supplies,
On apples apples, figs on figs arise:
The same mild season gives the blooms to blow,
The buds to harden, and the fruits to grow.
Here order'd vines in equal ranks appear
With all th' united labours of the year,
Some to unload the fertile branches run,
Some dry the black'ning clusters in the sun,
Others to tread the liquid harvest join,
The groaning presses foam with floods of wine.
Here are the vines in early flow'r descry'd,
Here grapes discolour'd on the sunny side.
And there in autumn's richest purple dy'd.
Beds of all various herbs, for ever green,
In beauteous order terminate the scene.
Two plenteous fountains the whole prospect crown'd;
This thro' the gardens leads its streams around,
Visits each plant, and waters all the ground:
While that in pipes beneath the palace flows,
And thence its current on the town bestows;
To various use their various streams they bring,
The People one, and one supplies the King."