Music for Hadrian (part two)

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Hymne À la Muse” by Atrium Musicae de Madrid & Gregorio Paniagua (Atrium Musicae was an early music ensemble from Madrid, Spain, founded in 1964)

Mesomedes, a Greek lyric poet and composer of Cretan birth, was a freedman and the court musician of Hadrian. He wrote paens glorifying his patron and his policies, such as the “Hymn to the Muse”. The hymn is addressed to Calliope, the Muse of epic poetry.  The Delian child of Leto is Apollo, and “Paean” refers to Him as Savior.

Sing, Muse, dear to me,
and prelude my own song,
Let a breeze come forth from your groves,
make my soul tremble.

O wise Calliope,
who directs the gracious Muse,
and you whose wisdom initiates the mysteries,
Son of Leto, Delian Paean,
help me with your favour. *

A total of fifteen poems by Mesomedes are known. Only four survive which preserve the ancient musical notation written over the text; the other three are ”Hymn to Nemesis”, “Hymn to the Sun”, “Invocation of Calliope and Apollo”.

Hymn To The Sun By Mesomedes Of Crete by Petros Tabouris

Calliope and Apollo (Mesomedes) by Ensemble De Organographia

Enjoy! ♫

Related post: Music for Hadrian (part one)

* Translation by D. Yeld, Musique de la Grèce antique, Madrid – Saint-Michel de Provence, 1978

Links and further reading:

Apollo Kitharoidos. Painted plaster, Roman artwork from the Augustan period, Antiquarium of the Palatine
© Carole Raddato
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