Music From Ancient Rome

Vol. 1 Wind instruments
This CD is a wonderful collection of music for wind instruments from ancient Rome's imperial period played on accurate replicas of various Roman instruments. This is a great buy for anyone interested in ancient music or the study of ancient Rome.

There are unfortunately few direct sources on the composition of Roman music. Most of the work in this CD is a recreation of what the music would have sounded like based on the range of the instruments, various classical sources, and anthropological studies of present Mediterranean cultures. I strongly disagree with a previous reviewer's giving of a low rating on the basis that the music is not the direct product of Roman sheet music. Although there may be certain inaccuracies in the recomposition of such music, the number of different scholars who participated in producing this work from various disciplines probably makes such inaccuracies rather slim. Furthermore, since there is no direct source for such music nor is it likely that we will ever uncover any, it's better to have this than nothing at all. The music is primarily brass and percussion but it also has

string accompaniments for certain pieces. The music is charming and makes one feel as if they are reclining on their sofas, eating dates, and drinking wine in praise of Baccus. The package makes this CD worth every penny as it has a very detailed synopsis of all the instruments, the works themselves, and the work that was involved in this music: the pamphlet is also filled with photographs and drawings of the instruments as well as various Roman frescoes from Pompey depicting Roman social life and the instruments in question.

MP3 25 tracks - 1 RAR file 81MB

Vol. 2 String Instruments
This CD is an exploration of ancient Roman music utilizing what is known by scholars and putting this knowledge into a performance practice. The CD is presented in the form of a booklet (with a nice cover taken from one of the frescos in the Villa of Mysteries) of 33 pages that provides an excellent introduction to origins of music and the instruments that are being played in these recordings. The booklet is nicely illustrated with photographs of the instruments played in these recordings and depictions of them in ancient sculpture and paintings.

The music played on this CD does not come from any ancient compositions but have been composed based on what is known of ancient Roman music and performance. The man behind this CD and an earlier one based on wind instruments (two tracks of which were used in the film Gladiator) is Walter Maioli. He is described as an artist-researcher and has given concert performances of ancient music. This music on the CD is described in detail in the booklet and what instrument(s) are being played. There are purely instrumental tracks and some that include chanting by one or more performers. The first track, Invocation to Mercury, includes a text from book 5 of Ovid's Fasti and one of the love poems is the basis of the Erato track. While stringed instruments are dominate in this collection, drums and cymbals are also plays in some of the compositions, notably in the first and fourteenth tracks. There is a variety to the music: some for multiple instruments, some demonstrating the playing of string instruments and those with chanting providing with an overall sense of what ancient music sounded like. So while this CD is a scholarly attempt to re-create ancient music it is also entertaining to hear. You can use your imagination to be transported back in time, reclining on a couch following dinner in a richly decorated trinclinium. I recommend this disc to anyone interested in ancient music and its recreation.

MP3 16 tracks - 1 RAR file 79MB


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Copyright 2007 Melita Insula