The Reception of Ancient Greek Music in the Late Nineteenth Century

Solomon, Jon
December 2010
International Journal of the Classical Tradition;Dec2010, Vol. 17 Issue 4, p497
Academic Journal
During the 1890s such French composers as Erik Satie, Camille Saint-Saëns, and Claude Debussy participated in a revival of interest in the music of ancient Greece. The contemporaneous French excavation under the direction of Théophile Homolle unearthed almost the complete assemblage of ashlar blocks that formed the Athenian Treasury at Delphi. More than one dozen of these blocks were inscribed with relatively extensive fragments of two second-century BC paeans to Apollo notated with Greek music. From the summer of 1893 to the winter of 1894 Otto Crusius, Henri Weil, and Théodore Reinach transcribed the Delphic inscriptions and issued a number of publications in journal articles and extractions. Limenios' 'Hymne á Apollon' in particular was promulgated by Théodore Reinach in his capacity as the editor of Revue des études grecques. Reinach commissioned the composer Gabriel Fauré to compose a modern accompaniment, and in 1894-1895 the hymn received a number of public performances in France, England, and the United States. In his memoires Baron Pierre de Coubertin claimed that the performance of the hymn at the first International Olympic Congress in June, 1895, created an ' antique eurythmie' which inspired the international cooperation required for the ultimate success of the Olympic movement.


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