The Cave of Hermes | Michael Levy


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A presentation of track 1, The Cave of Hermes” from my new album of the same title – out on all major digital music platforms from 1st January 2022, this release is available to pre-order now, from Bandcamp & direct from my website:

The track features an original composition for recreated custom made ancient Greek tortoise shell lyre; featuring an actual tortoise shell, arms of goat horn & authentic gut strings, as featured on the album cover, custom made in modern Greece, by Luthieros. As no two tortoise shells are alike, the timbre of the lyre featured in the second track o the album, “Song of the Tortoise Shell Lyre”, is completely different!

This piece attempts to capture some of the essense of the story of the birth of Hermes, born in a cave and who was said to have invented the first lyre out of the shell of a tortoise – as described here by Pseudo-Apollodorus, in “Bibliotheca 3. 112” (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer, circa 2nd A.D.) :

“The oldest daughter [of Atlas] Maia, after her intercourse with Zeus, bore Hermes in a cave on Kyllene. Though he was laid out in swaddling-clothes with her winnowing-basket for a cradle, he escaped and made his way to Pieria”

To capture an essence of the legend of the birth of Hermes, the haunting reverb added into the mixing & mastering process of this track, was sampled from an actual cave!

The piece is in the intense & mournful ancient Greek Hypodorian Mode – misnamed the ‘Aolian’ mode in the Middle Ages, this mode, the equivalent intervals as A-A on the white notes of the piano, is the basis of our modern minor scales, but heard here in the focussed purity of just intonation.


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