Sunday, 23 March 2008



Original Issue: 1994 ECM ( ECM 1551) Buy it here!!!

Margot-meter: 4 moons / 5

01 - On The Way
02 - The First Night
03 - The First Day
04 - The Second Night
05 - The Second Day
06 - The Third Night
07 - The Third Day
08 - On The Way Back (2 Bavarian Zithers, Sattar, 11 Voices)


Athos is a 1994 album produced by Stephan Micus for ECM. Based on a three-day visit to Mount Athos, in it Micus tries to capture his experiences with the Greek Orthodox liturgy he experienced in the monasteries there, framing it with pieces that evoke his emotions at going to and leaving the isolated peninsula. Between them he recreates the liturgical experience of the services over the three days he was there, in six alternating pieces of night and day.

As in his other works, Micus uses a combination of traditional instruments from various cultures to capture the feel of the monastery. These include the sattar (a bowed 10-string instrument used by the Uyghur people), the shakuhachi (a Japanese bamboo flute), the suling (a reed flute from Bali), the ney (a Middle Eastern flute), and even 22 flowerpots, filled with water, which he plays with his hands and with mallets. These instruments are only used in the pieces representing the days on Mount Athos. To emulate the Greek Orthodox tradition of not using musical instruments in their services, his pieces devoted to the nights are performed by a 22-man choir singing prayers to the Virgin Mary.


Anonymous said...

Wow. Seriously. This is very good. Thanks for finding it and posting!

Margot said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
cpm said...

Quite an amazing album. I've really enjoyed listening to this. Thanks!

manik said...

H'mm, I'll have to get to this one....I had two Micus albums, the one, Music with Stones was awesome...played on these blocks of stone specially carved by monks in Tibet (I think), the other album was made using solely Japaneses traditional instruments..Lost both albums in a fire unfortunately

greippi said...

So far, this is the most solemn of Micus' works that I have come across. This is no surprise, considerings its theme. I find it interesting that Micus has allowed for a broader perspective through his interpretation - this is no longer orthodox liturgy, but an exercise in meditation for anyone with inner vision...

If this release appeals to you, I would also recommend Micus' "Desert Poems" and Arvo Pärt's choral works, among others.

Margot said...

Greippi, thank you for your comment and your recommendation.

Arvo Pärt is really one of my favorite composer...I love "Tabula Rasa", "Te Deum" and above all "Miserere".

He 's too much known to be posted also in my blog but his music deserves maximum respect...

W. said...

Contemporary Spirituality, I think this album is so gorgeous, tahnks for giving us a chance to hear it.