Klezmer Schlezmer is the performer, and the below description is in his own words:
"The Song of Seikilos", the first COMPLETE piece of written music...IN THE ENTIRE WORLD! This melody is an amazing musical legacy from ancient Greece; a precious remnant of a long-forgotten musical culture now forever lost in the mists of time...
Although older music has been found, all that remains are either just pitiful fragments of the melodies, or the way the melodies have been notated in ancient times have O many modern interpretations (e.g., the 3400 year old Hurrian Hymn from Syria), that the actual melody is still mostly academic guess work. "The Song of Seikilos" is unique, as not only do we have the complete notation of the melody, but the notation is totally unambiguous - the melody played here, is the SAME as that which was first was written by the ancient Greek song writer, around 2000 years ago, sometime between 200 B.C.E. - 100 C.E.!
About 2000 years later, in 1883, this melody was discovered again, inscribed in its complete & original form. It was found inscribed in marble on an ancient Greek burial stele, bearing the following epitaph: "I am a portrait in stone. I was put here by Seikilos, where I remain forever, the symbol of timeless rememberence".
It appears to be a touching love song in memory of the woman who lay buried below the burial stele, on which this haunting melody was inscribed. The translation of this song is:
"As long as you live,shine.
Let nothing grieve you beyond measure.
For life is short,and time will claim it's tribute"
It is played here on an an instrument strikingly similar to the ancient Greek Kithara; the larger,wooden lyre favoured by professional ancient Greek musicians. The instrument I am playing, is, in fact, a copy of an ancient Jewish Temple Lyre, the "Kinnor", as depicted from an illustration on the back of an ancient Jewish coin from the Bar Kochba Revolt against the Romans in 135 C.E. This was the original "Harp of David", of which an entire orchestra of them, accompanied the Levite singers in the Temple of Jerusalem!
This clearly demonstrates the Hellenistic influence on ancient Jewish culture in this period - it is also known that King Herod often employed Greek musicians for various festivals around Jerusalem.
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