From the recording The Cave of Hermes

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The Radiance of Helios

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Helios was one of the Titans, son of Hyperion and Theia and brother of Eos (the Dawn) and Selene (the Moon). The personification of the Sun, he was portrayed as driving a four-horse chariot across the sky on a daily basis. Helios was married to Perse, but he had quite a few extramarital affairs and a number of children; these include the Charites, Phaethon, Circe, Aeetes, Pasiphae, Heliadae and Heliades.

At a later period in ancient Greek history, Helios was conflated with Apollo; to the Romans, he was known as Sol. To represent this association of Helios with Apollo, the piece is performed on my Luthieros "Lyre of Apollo III" - a massive chelys (tortoise shell form) lyre, whose deep, rich, exotic timbre is more than capable of waking the pantheon of ancient Greek gods from their slumbers.

The 31st Homeric Hymn vividly describes the attributes of Helios, to which I attempt to evoke through the music of my lyre:

“He shines upon men and deathless gods, and piercingly he gazes with his eyes from his golden helmet. Bright rays beam dazzlingly from him, and his bright locks streaming from the temples of his head gracefully enclose his far-seen face: a rich, fine-spun garment glows upon his body and flutters in the wind: and stallions carry him.”


To evoke the warmth of the ancient Greek personification of the sun, I use the distinctively warm characteristics of the ancient Greek Hypophrygian Mode. Consisting of a conjunction of 2 tetrachords which form the equivalent intervals as G-G on the white notes of the piano (but heard here in just intonation), this mode was misnamed the ‘Mixolydian’ mode by scholars during the Middle Ages.