Urkesh Suite

Urkesh Suite is a digital album by pianist and composer Enzo Sartori inspired by a trace of art dating back to the 13th century BC.
Emerging from Ugarit in Syria is the cuneiform alphabet tablet that represents, to the current state of knowledge, the oldest written musical hymn in history.
The text, which is sacred in nature, remains quite obscure to this day. In the lower part of the tablet, a series of codes and numbering have enabled scholars to transcribe the intervals and durations of the notes of the melody in modern notation. Thus, albeit to a certain degree of approximation, it is possible for us to get an idea of what music could be heard in royal palaces, such as that of the Queen of Urkesh.

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A trace of art dating back to the 13th century B.C.The cuneiform alphabet tablet emerged from Ugarit in Syria that represents, to the current state of knowledge, the oldest written musical hymn in history. The text, of a sacred character, remains quite obscure to this day. In the lower part of the tablet, a series of codes and numbering have enabled scholars to transcribe the intervals and durations of the notes of the melody in modern notation. Thus, albeit to a certain degree of approximation, it is possible for us to get an idea of what music could be heard in royal palaces, such as that of the Queen of Urkesh.

Leaving aside the purely scientific data, Urkesh Suite opens in this setting of great emotional impact. The Song of Urkesh is the recollection of the Urkesh melody, as if it reappeared to contemporary man's hearing after many listens and many silences.

Suite is a term used in Western classical music to refer to a series of pieces, of different genres, often set in royal or otherwise baroque courts. I wrote a series of variations, very short and flowing into each other, mainly using the head of the Urrita theme. I revised the four descending notes G F E D, and other small details of the original theme, as if they were taken from different eras and styles. Like an ancient filigree vessel, impalpable, this sound track from more than three thousand years ago still resonates today, via mobile phones, apps and contemporary instruments, with extraordinary clarity.

I am moved to think of the sacred severity of certain Urritic rites, scenes that can be seen in the small but precious seals found in the excavations of the royal palace. Miniatures fixing lost figures and features. Necromantic is linked to the divinatory rites that took place in the necromantic pit, in which the priestess offered sacrifices to obtain answers before the rulers. On the other hand, there are three pieces that refer, albeit revised, to the baroque world. Arietta, Toccata and Corale.Arietta, in its baroque, suspended procession, is a sonorous fabric of nostalgic rarefaction that places its fascination precisely in the disquieting simplicity and transparency of its lines. Toccata sees the initial theme built right into the shell of the interval of fourth D G. Enigmi remains to speak like an unresolved voice. Unsolved like our perception of time and space in the face of men and women, queens and life, swallowed up by 3000 years of vanished history.

The suite, which I had initially thought of naming Rooms, is intended to bring us to different colours and suggestions, but recognisable in a single matrix, as if one could move through a palace made of time. With its raw, almost pop-like timbre, the piano gives a colourfulness estranged from archaeology, which naturally and nobly revives a sparkle of human history.
Enzo Sartori

Additional information

Year

2014

Authors/Interpreters/Arrangers

Enzo Sartori

Orchestration

Piano

Support

Digital CD

Typology

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