Michael Levy | King David's Lyre; Echoes of Ancient Israel

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Download PDF of Article About Michael's Music Published in "The American Harp Journal" Download Lossless Audio Files or Broadcast Quality 320kbps MP3s of This Album From Bandcamp! Download Free PDF Booklet of The Detailed Album Notes "An Ancient Lyre" Buy The Physical CD of This Album From Reverbnation VIDEO - "Music of the Ancient World" VIDEO - Featuring Clips from This Album My Series of "Online Lyre Lessons"! VIDEO - Music In The Temple Of Jerusalem VIDEO - The Story Of My Ancient Lyre Music... MY OFFICIAL WEBSITE!!! "Lyre of the Levites" Review in "The Jewish Chronicle" My Youtube Channel

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UK - England - South West

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New Age: New Age Spiritual: Jewish Folk Moods: Solo Instrumental
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King David's Lyre; Echoes of Ancient Israel

by Michael Levy

Restoring once again, the Mystical, Meditative, Healing, Haunting refrains of the 3000 year old Lyre of the Ancient Hebrews. Voyage with me now, on a "Musical Adventure in Time Travel", to hear once again, the Ancient Echoes, of King David's Lyre. . .
Genre: Classical: New Age
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1. The Music of Moses
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2. Kol Nidre
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3. Avinu Malcheinu
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4. Havinu Shalom Aleichem
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5. Zemer Atik
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6. Hatikvah
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7. Berdichiever Khosid
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8. Siman Tov
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9. Kandel's Hora
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10. Odessa Bulgar
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11. Abu's Courtyard
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12. Shalom Chavarim
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13. Araber Tantz
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14. Hine Ma Tov
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15. Bukovina Freylekhs
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16. Oh Hanukah
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17. Der Heyser Bulgar
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18. Shabbat Shalom
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19. Shalom Aleichem
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20. Ose Shalom
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21. Hava Nagila
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22. Yigdal
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
INTRODUCTION

Both my CD albums, "King David's Lyre; Echoes of Ancient Israel" & "Lyre of the Levites", are dedicated to restoring again, for the first time in almost 2000 years, the mystical, ancient sounds of the "Kinnor" - the lyre of the ancient Hebrews. After almost 2000 years of empty, desolate silence, after the tragic destruction of the Jewish Temple by the Roman Legions under Titus in 70 C.E, the haunting strains of the ancient Jewish Kinnor can now finally be heard, once again...


THE AMAZING SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE NUMBER OF STRINGS ON THE ORIGINAL BIBLICAL LYRES

According to both the ancient writings of the 1st century Jewish historian, Josephus Flavius, and the Biblical text, we know that the Kinnor Lyre played in the Temple of Jerusalem had 10 strings, and the Nevel Lyre had 12 - this is of amazing spiritual significance...

The reason why the Kinnor had 10 strings, must surely be to represent The Ten Commandments, and the reason why the Nevel Lyre had 12 strings, must be to represent The 12 Tribes of Israel (the Levitical Priests in the Temple of Jerusalem also wore a breastplate with 12 Gems to represent the 12 Tribes).

Even more amazing - the sum of the total number of tones which could be played on both these lyres is 10 strings on the Kinnor, plus the 12 strings of the Nevel, which gives a total of 22 possible musical notes - which also happens to correspond to the 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet!

According to the doctrines of Jewish Mysticism, more commonly known as Kabbalah, each letter of the Hebrew alphabet has a unique, spiritual significance, as the Hebrew alphabet is, quite literally, "the Word of G_d" - this amazing correlation of numbers regarding the strings on both the Kinnor and Nevel Lyres once played in the Temple of Jerusalem, could quite well be one of the earliest examples of Kabbalistic Philosophy ever know!

For details of all the all the fascinating historical and spiritual background to my albums, please follow the link on the left to my official website. There is also a link on the left, to one of the promotional videos I created for this album.


KING DAVID'S LYRE

The truly ancient Jewish Kinnor, was the very first lyre to be mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, where it is now commonly mistranslated as "harp" - Jubal was the son of Lamech and Adah, a brother of Jabal, a descendant of Cain, and according to the Bible, "he was the ancestor of all who played the lyre and pipe" (Genesis 4:21).

References to this beautiful Biblical lyre of antiquity can also be found throughout the entire text of the Hebrew Bible, for example:

Psalm 33:2, 43:4, 49:4, 57:8, 71:22, 81:2, 92:3, 98:5, 98:5, 108:2, 147:7, 149:3, 150:3, 137:2

In Biblical times, the Kinnor was usually made of cypress wood, or in very precious instruments, of sandalwood (I Kings 10: 12; described as "almug"). According to the ancient writings of the Jewish historian Josephus Flavius, who actually witnessed the Kinnor being played by the Levites in the Temple of Jerusalem, the Kinnor had ten strings, made of sheep gut.

The Biblical Kinnor Lyre was the actual "Harp of David", once played by King David himself, 3000 years ago, as he danced before the very Ark of the Covenant (II Samuel 6:5), and for over 1000 years, the mystical resonance of the Kinnor could be heard wafting down from the Temple Mount, as my very own, very ancient Levite ancestors played their Kinnors in the Courtyard of the Temple of Jerusalem, to accompany the almost legendary singing of the Levitical Choir (II Chronicles 5:12).

The Kinnor on which I am playing, is of the Second Temple Era design; from the actual time of Jesus! The design of my replica instrument is based illustrations of the Kinnor depicted on ancient Jewish coins minted at the time of the Simon Bar Kochba Revolt against the Roman occupation in Israel (a photograph of such a coin can be seen the cover of the album).

The design of the Jewish Temple Lyre in the time of Jesus is remarkably similar to the ancient Greek Kithara; the large wooden lyre played by the professional musicians of ancient Greece. This could possibly demonstrate the Hellenistic influence on Jewish culture at this time? Indeed, it is know that Herod often imported Greek musicians for the various festivals in Jerusalem.


THE CHOICE OF REPORTOIRE FOR THE ALBUM

After much experimentation and research, I finally settled on the idea of arranging for solo lyre, a diverse range of traditional Jewish folk songs, mystical Shabbat hymns and music from the traditional Jewish Klezmer repertoire - the concept of the musical performances on this album, are meant to be evocations, not reconstructions, of the sounds & playing techniques that were possible on the ten-stringed Kinnor of the Bible - there are sadly too few unambiguously notated melodies from antiquity to make an album of "note for note" reconstructions of ancient instrumental solo lyre music a feasible reality.

However, as can be discovered in the detailed articles which can be found on my "Official Website", the traditional Jewish scales/modes in which these pieces are actually written, may have their origin in these mystically remote, ancient Biblical Times...


THE 22 TRACKS...

Jewish Mysticism is more popularly known as Kabbalah; according to the Kabbalists, each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet has a unique, transcendental and spiritual significance - therefore, I have decided to record 22 tracks for this album; to correspond to each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet :


1) The Music of Moses – a spontaneous improvisation on an ancient Egyptian scale.

2) Kol Nidre - “All Vows”; sung at the start of the Yom Kippur Services.

3) Avinu Malcheinu - “Our Father, Our King”; traditionally sang at Yom Kippur.

4) Havenu Shalom Aleichem - “Peace unto you”; one of the most famous of all Hebrew songs.

5) Zemer Atik - “Ancient Melody”; an Israeli folk song.

6) Hatikvah - “The Hope”; the Israeli National Anthem.

7) Berdichiever Khosid – an almost mystical-sounding Klezmer melody...

8) Siman Tov – "A Good Sign"; a jubilant song of celebration and congratulation.

9) Kandel's Hora – a slow , haunting, Jewish Klezmer melody.

10) Odessa Bulgar – an exhilarating Klezmer classic!

11) Abu's Courtyard – a lively Hasidic melody.

12) Shalom Chavarim - “Peace friends, until we meet again”; a traditional Hebrew song.

13) Araber Tantz - “Arabic Dance”; an amazingly Middle Eastern-sounding Klezmer melody.

14) Hine Ma Tov - “Behold How Good”; an Israeli folk song.

15) Bukovina Freylekhs – a hypnotically beautiful Klezmer tune.

16) Oh Hanukah – a traditional Jewish song.

17) Der Heyser Bulgar - “The Hot Bulgar”; a traditional Klezmer favourite.

18) Shabbat Shalom – An improvisation on a meditative Shabbat chant.

19) Shalom Aleichem - “Peace be upon you”; a traditional Shabbat melody.

20) Ose Shalom - "The One Who Makes Peace"; the final refrain of the Mourner's Kaddish.

21) Hava Nagila - “Let Us Rejoice”

22) Yigdal - “May He be Magnified”; this lovely traditional melody is often the concluding hymn sang at the end of the Friday evening Shabbat service.


Prepare to embark with me, on an actual "Musical Adventure in Time Travel"! On this incredible journey, I will take you back over 3500 years ago, to the mystically remote, Biblical times of the Ancient Hebrews, & to hear once more, the Music of Moses, & the Healing Harp of King David...

Shalom!

Michael Levy


Reviews


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Mary Starr

Dazzling Collection
This is a mystical, ancient sounding constellation of lyre music that is both deeply spiritual and organic. Michael Levy has mastered his craft & lovingly shared his gift on this first CD - I can't wait to experience the next one!

Brilliant. Deeply touching. Organic. Spiritual.

HarpRuby

Extraordinary Ancient Echoes Lyre
This music is awesome - better than anything I've ever heard for chilling out, meditation and reflection - it's mystical tone and cadence, the rise and fall of rhythms, transports you back in time. . .if you're looking for music with an ancient quality full of rich perfume and candlelight, you'll love this CD.

HarpRuby

Jarvis N Turner

Great Music
I like music and enjoyed how he was able to play it on a replica of the ancient jewish lyre.

John Wheeler

Michael's climbed a very steep learning curve
Michael Levy asked me for a LOT of advice during the creation of his many YouTube videos featuring his kinnor, and then during the creation of his album. His videos (on the "klezfiddle1" channel) show that he's climbed a very steep learning curve over the past 18 months. From tentative beginnings he has matured (and is still maturing) into a self-taught virtuoso on the instrument. Myself and some of my friends still hear some tentativeness on some of the tracks on this CD, but others show a real mastery both of the kinnor and of the musical material. You may find this CD (as I do) something that requires your full attention, rather than something that helps you relax -- but then again you may not; whether played gently or dynamically, the kinnor is a soothing instrument. I heartily recommend Michael's freshman effort, and I hope to hear more from him. (Next time, a tasteful synthesized or acoustical accompaniment would be fascinating.)

HarpRuby

Relax & Rejuvenate~
These songs uplift and satisfy the listener with a simple and organic presentation from a skilled & intuitive musician - the music touching the ear lightly but impacting the soul in a deeply moving way.

Meditation and contemplation while listening to this CD has outstanding results; the melodies directly connect a person with the ancient, burning light that illuminated the souls of our Fathers. Brilliant.

I can't wait for the next CD!
HarpRuby

Jeffrey Friedman

We Are Lucky
We are fortunate that there is someone like Michael Levy to spend so much time and energy to bring to life this wonderful music, and who has the talent and intellect to do so. Thank you Mr. Levy.

Mitch Vire

Fantastic stuff
Before seeing Michael Levy's first kinnor video on YouTube, I had never heard of the kinnor. My first impression was that, while intriguing, with only 10 strings it would be a pretty limited instrument. With each successive video, Mr. Levy proved me wrong. With this CD, he has taken this little lyre from the realm of simple melodies and accompaniment to an impressive solo instrument, capable of a rich variety of musical sounds and textures.

The album consists of 22 tracks that feature melodies from ancient Israel, songs from the Klezmer tradition, and original music that takes you back to the time of Moses and Jewish captivity in Egypt. The selections range from melancholy and meditative, to joyful and celebratory. Michael has done a great deal of study and research not only into the technique of playing the kinnor, but also into the origins of the instrument, the musical scales and traditions of the music and the history behind it. All of this shines through brilliantly in his playing and his liner notes.

I don't know of anyone else that has gone as far as Michael Levy in the resurrection of this humble, and at the same time wonderful, instrument. If you have an interest in ancient music, Jewish music, biblical instruments, or just enjoy meditative, interesting and thoughtful music, “King David's Lyre: Echos of Ancient Israel” is a worthy addition to your collection.

Anna Dunster (llamer)

very enjoyable
I'm no good at writing reviews, however since I first found the artist's youtube channel I wanted a CD, and this didn't disappoint. Thanks again! I don't know what else to say other than it's very enjoyable and relaxing overall.

veronica naudascher

the king's lyre
michel levy is a genius and his music , be careful, is a magic spell.

Wolfgang Schweizer

Inspiring Music
Listening to the beautiful sounds of the Lyre I was inspired to make a new drawing. My wife was sitting with me, and we both enjoyed the meditative, calming tunes.
The Lyre has a very unique, really deep beautiful sound. I am happy to have music from such an old tradition now and can listen to it.