ARCHiPELAGOS / Passages
I. THE ARCHIPELAGO REVISITED
01. The Archipelago
a. Is Ionia in Bloom? – b. Where Is Athens?
– Friedrich Hölderlin (adapted into Portuguese by Amélia Muge)
/ a. Aegean traditional tune – b. Michales Loukovikas
• Arranged by M. Loukovikas, António José Martins
Are the cranes back at your door? Have the ships
Resumed their course to your shores? Do breaths of breezes
We longed for stir the calm waves? […]
Is Ionia in bloom? Is it time? […]
Say, where is Athens? Perhaps above the teachers’ urns
Your most beloved city
[…] has sunk entirely amid the ashes?
Is there still some sign of her, so that a sailor
Passing by would mention and remember her? […]
The Delphic god fell silent, the paths are long
Desolate and lonely […]
●● Friedrich Hölderlin (1770 – 1843): a major German lyric poet associated with Romanticism. He synthesized the spirit of ancient Greece with his pantheism and an unorthodox version of Christianism. Written in 1800-1801, The Archipelago is his longest poem (296 verses). Partly epic and lyrical, partly elegiac and hymnic, it brings to the fore his belief that divine nature and human culture had been harmoniously connected in the Greek poleis, especially Athens, but were painfully crushed in the present, and his hope that they would blossom together again in the future. ● Aegean Sea: located between the Greek and Anatolian peninsulas, it was known as the Archipelago (Αρχιπέλαγος, i.e. chief sea), while later usage of the term shifted to refer to the Aegean Islands, since the sea is remarkable for its large number of isles. Any such island group is now described as an archipelago. Regarding the name of the sea, among several explanations in antiquity, it was said to have been named after Aegeus, a king of Athens, father of Theseus, or Aegea, a queen of the Amazons, who both drowned there. A possible etymology is a derivation from the Greek word αἶγες, aiges, i.e. goats, used metaphorically to mean waves, hence wavy sea. ● Ionia: an ancient region of central coastal Asia Minor, named after the Ionians, one of the four major Hellenic tribes, who settled the shores and islands of the Aegean Sea between the 11th and 9th centuries BCE. ● Athens: a notable Hellenic polis (city-state), a centre for the arts, learning and philosophy in the classical period. It is regarded as the cradle of Western Civilization, and the birthplace of democracy that was established in 508 BCE. ● Delphi: the major site for the worship of Apollo (the Delphic god), as well as the seat of his oracle that was consulted on important decisions throughout the ancient world.
02. Katolophýromae / I’m Wailing in Lament
– Euripides • Tragedy “Orestes” (408 BCE, fragments)
• Adapted / Αrranged by Michales Loukovikas
[…] oh, I am begging you, yes, I am begging you,
in spacious aether you dart along to exact
a penalty for blood, a murder penalty,
oh, please, allow the son
of Agamemnon to forget his frenzy,
his manic rage, twisting madness. Toils in vain,
that you, poor creature, so strove to drag yourself […]
[…] I’m wailing in lament,
I’m wailing in lament.
Alas, your mother’s blood, which drives you raving mad?
Great happiness is not in mortals permanent.
But like a sail it is,
that of a rapid boat, shaken by some god,
plunged in a sea of dire troubles in the tempest,
furious and disastrous the waves all around. […]
●● Euripides (c. 480 – c. 406 BCE): the youngest of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, coming after Aeschylus and Sophocles. ● Katolophýromae (I’m wailing): a notated but mutilated passage of the music from the tragedy Orestes (the antistrophe of the first stasimon, lines 338-344), found on a papyrus from Hermopolis, Egypt, in the collection of Archduke Rainer Ferdinand of Austria, and published in 1892. The Vienna Papyrus G 2315 dates to the 3rd century BCE. Thus the question whether the fragment represents the original music Euripides composed is still open. There is, however, some evidence that the melody recorded there must have been composed much earlier: the tragedian has been famous for his innovative spirit, and the fragment accords with what we know about the complexity of his style. If the Hellenistic era musicians and musicologists imitated and reproduced the classical works of music the same way librarians and grammarians did for literature, this would be another argument in favour of the authenticity. ● According to Plutarch (Parallel Lives, in Nicias and Lysander), it was the music of Euripides (not that of Aeschylus, Sophocles, or even Aristophanes) that saved many Athenians, and Athens itself, during the Peloponnesian War. After the disastrous for the Athenians Sicilian expedition (415 – 413 BCE), many of them held captives saved their lives because they could sing Euripides; his avant-garde songs were much loved by all Hellenes in Greece and in the colonies – except perhaps Aristophanes!(*) And in 404 BCE, after Athens’ defeat, the victorious Spartan generals had a meeting to decide the fate of the city. They concluded that it should be demolished and its citizens enslaved. Then, during the victory celebrations, someone sang an ode from Euripides’ Electra. The generals were so much moved that they changed their minds: They felt it would be a barbarous act to annihilate a polis where such men were born… These episodes also support the arguments in favour of the authenticity: it would be natural to copy again and again compositions with such an enormous appeal, such as Katolophýromae. ● In our approach, we have chosen to: a) repeat the surviving notes in the corresponding missing musical phrases, instead of filling up the gaps with our own inventions; b) present not only the antistrophe, but also the strophe; and c) balance ourselves between monophony and polyphony, hoping that Euripides would smile and applaud approvingly, despite the brickbats thrown by Aristophanes, Plato, and the Spartan ephori.
(*) Indeed, it is very impressive that at that time, the most popular music was avant-garde! It goes without saying that the citizens’ cultural level then was very high…
● Agamemnon (Ἀγαμέμνων): king of Mycenae, who led the Hellenes in the Trojan War (dated variously from around 1260 to around 1180 BCE). Upon his return from Troy, he was murdered by his wife, Clytemnestra, and her lover. ● His son, Orestes, is the subject of several myths and plays connected with his madness, after murdering his mother to avenge his father. ● But before passing a verdict, one needs to take into account Clytemnestra’s feelings towards Agamemnon. Most important event: before the war, the king was obliged to sacrifice their daughter, Iphigenia, so his fleet could voyage safely to Troy. Orestes finally found his sister in Tauris or Taurica (Crimea), where she had been taken by Artemis, who intervened the last moment and saved her. Euripides wrote two related tragedies: Iphigenia in Aulis, where the sacrifice took place, and Iphigenia in Tauris. ● Stasimon: a stationary (i.e. στάσιμον) song composed of strophes and antistrophes and performed by the chorus in the orchestra (ὀρχήστρα), the place where the chorus dances. Static but showing emotions, the chorus comments and analyzes the dramatic situation after an episode of a tragedy, accompanied by lyre or aulos (pipe). ● Chorus: a group of performers who comment on the dramatic action, singing or speaking their lines in unison, and dancing (chorus in Greek means also dance, choir, troop, as well as a place for dancing, where it is synonymous with the orchestra). ● In this stasimon, the chorus is initially pleading with the Erinyes (remorses), the demonic spirits protecting matriarchy, to stop tormenting Orestes, and then turns to him…