Gregorio Paniagua

Gregorio Paniagua - Musique de la Grece Antique (Ancient Greek Music)

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Musique de la Grece Antique (Ancient Greek Music)

By Gregorio Paniagua

Good Condition with some shelf wear on original cardboard case

Considerably more remains of ancient Greek architecture than the music of this advanced and inspirational civilization. And although works explaining Greek music theory have survived, the actual existence of composed pieces from these times comes down to only a few scraps that survived on papyrus, marble columns, and other written sources. This Spanish ensemble under the leadership oGregorio Paniagua pieced together these remains and performed them with reconstructions of instruments from ancient Greek sources, some of which, such as the bagpipe, remain in use today. Portions of the music included may remind listeners of very early classical music such as Gregorian chant, whereas other pieces will certainly cause an astonished reaction as they sound unlike any other music recorded. Some is sparse, floating, the melodic ideas developing very slowly. A few of the old-world Greek percussion instruments wind up sounding quite a bit like new-world electronic music.

A Review:

What a strange–and brave, and utterly intriguing–recording this is. It’s just as weird and otherworldly-sounding as I remember from my first encounter with it about nine or 10 years ago. Gregorio Paniagua’s interpretations hover at the edge of performance art, from the “sonorous explosion” of the Anakrousis that opens the album through the percussive slams of the Second Delphic Hymn to Apollo. As Paniagua writes in the introduction: “We do not claim, with this record, to be making a mere compilation of what has been preserved of Greek music…It is more in the nature of the personal expression of a profoundly sad feeling in the face of an irremediable loss.” Paniagua’s sense of loss renders these as much dramatic theatrical statements as they are experiments in musicmaking. Utilizing a small chorus of six and a battery of instruments, he creates a fascinating landscape of sound, with thunderous breaks of fragmented melody and shards of recited and sung poetry breaking up periods of silence.

 Unfortunately, the voices are muddied and echoey, to the point that discerning the texts is quite difficult. (It’s also clear that some of Paniagua’s Spanish musicians are having a hard time pronouncing the language.) Regrettably, the skimpy notes do not shed any illumination on this matter: it would have been a boon to have included the texts (preferably in the original and in translation), at least for this reissue, part of Harmonia Mundi’s midpriced “Musique d’Abord” series. Furthermore, I would have been very interested to read Paniagua’s thoughts on this recording, 21 years after its first issue in 1979, but no such luck there either.


Track Listing

1     Anakrousis / Orestes Stasimo

2     Fragment d'un Chorur de l'Oreste d'Euripide

3     First Delphic Hymn to Apollo

4     Tecmessa's Lament (may be from Æschylus' Ajax)

5     Papyrus de Wien 29825

6     Hymne au Soleil

7     Hymne à la muse

8     Hymn to Nemesis

9     Papyrus Michigan

10   Aenaoi Nefelai

11   Epitaph of Seikilos

12  Pean, Papyrus Berlin 6870

13   Anonymi Bellermann

14   Première ode pythique

15   Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 2436

16   Christian Hymn of Oxyrhynchus

17   Homero Hymnus

18   Papyrus Zenon, Cairo Fragment

19   Terencio. Hecyra 861

20   Poem. Mor 1, 11f Migne 37, 523

21   Second Delphic Hymn to Apollo

22   Papyrus Oslo A/B / Epilogos-Katastrophe

By Gregorio Paniagua

  • Music CD
  • Roots music CD
  • Musique D'Abord
  • World-Roots-Music

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