The Song of Calliope | Michael Levy


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“The Song of Calliope” – another brand new composition, for the recreated ancient Greek lyre!

Calliope was an ancient Greek goddess of music, song and dance, and was specifically named as the Muse of Epic Poetry. In this role, Calliope was normally depicted with a writing tablet in her hand.

Calliope was also said to be the muse who bestowed the gift of eloquence about mortal kings, coming to them when they were a baby, and anointing their lips in honey.

​As a result of Calliope’s actions, when adults, the anointed ones would spout gracious words, and utter true judgements.

Calliope was also considered to be the leader of the Muses, the wisest of the sisters, and also the most assertive.

In the Classical era, when the Muses were assigned specific artistic spheres, Calliope was named Muse of epic poetry. In this guise she was portrayed holding a tablet and stylus or a scroll. In older art she holds a lyre.

The marriage of Calliope and the Thracian King Oeagrus was said to have brought forth Orpheus and Linus. Orpheus was the great musical hero of Greek mythology and Linus was the inventor of rhythm and melody.

When her son Orpheus was dismembered by the Bakkhantes (Bacchantes), she recovered his head and enshrined on the island of Lesbos.

Her name means “beautiful-voiced” (from the Greek words ‘kallos’ and ‘ops’) – this fascinating characteristic of Calliope was the main inspiration for this new piece of music for the recreated ancient lyre.

The lyre I am playing, is the marvellously mythological looking ‘Lyre of Apollo III’ – a massive chelys (tortoise shell form) lyre with a soundboard of skin, handmade in modern Greece by Luthieros:

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