Ensemble De Organographia - Music of Ancient Sumerians, Egyptians & Greeks

De Organographia performs the music of Ancient Greece on a myriad of faithful reproductions of period instruments. Their concerts are informative and entertaining presentations using period text and song to bring to life the musical art of the distant past. The ancient Greek repertoire of De Organographia is brought alive in an improvisatory style based on precepts preserved in the writings of antiquity.

De Organographia performs on a collection of instruments of their own making: aulos (double reed pipe), lyra (Lyre), kithara (the ornate lyre of the professional musician), syrinx (panpipes), syrinx monokalamos (vertical flute), trichordon (small 3 stringed lute), psythirã (rattle), tympanon (drum), kymbala (cymbals), and salpinx (trumpet). Music of the Ancient Greeks is the title of their CD released in 1995 that includes virtually all of the extant music, an amazing group of diverse pieces dating from 500 BC to 300 AD. Included are two choral ode fragments from "Orestes" and "Iphigeneia in Aulis" by Euripides, "Hymn to the Sun", "Hymn to Nemesis" and "Invocation of Calliope and Apollo" by the Cretan composer Mesomedes, and the two most extensive pieces which are paeans from Delphi.

They were both performed there in 126 BC at the same occasion and were found carved onto the walls of the Athenian Treasury at Delphi. Ancient Greek music is unlike anything heard in concert today. The 50 or so surviving pieces range from exotic dramatic choruses written in tunings that employ microtones (musical intervals smaller than a half step) to almost modern sounding instrumental melodies.

Many are written in odd meters such as 5/4 and 15/8 (expressed in modern time signatures) which are also found in some of today's eastern European folk music. There are hymns and invocations to various gods, a skolion or drinking song, and the earliest christian hymn that survives with musical notation. Music of the Ancient Sumerians, Egyptians and Greeks, comprising 24 tracks, was released in 1999.

The Neumans have presented concerts, workshops, clinics and lectures throughout the United States, Europe and Asia since 1978, and have been featured on numerous television and radio programs, including National Public Radio's "Performance Today". De Organographia recordings include "Bicinia Sacra et Profana" and "Music of the Ancient Greeks". The Neumans have lectured and performed ancient Greek music for such prestigious institutions as Oberlin Conservatory, Case Western Reserve University, and the Cleveland Museum of Art, and have written for the British journal "Didaskalia: Ancient Greek Theatre Today". 


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Copyright 2007 Melita Insula