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Dimitri Conomos

[Bardesanes]

(b Edessa [now Urfa], July 11, 154; d Edessa, 222). Syrian hymnographer, astrologer and philosopher. Born into a pagan priestly family, he was educated by a pagan priest but baptized as a Christian, and in 179 he was ordained deacon and priest. Later denounced as a heretic and excommunicated (c216), he fled to Armenia and there taught a kind of astrological fatalism. Bardaisan has been erroneously regarded as a leader of the oriental school of gnosticism founded by Valentinus. His theology, which in fact combined Christian doctrine with astrological and philosophical speculation, is known from the works of later Christian writers such as Eusebius and Ephrem Syrus, who strongly denounced it, and from Bardaisan’s own Dialogue with Antonius concerning Destiny (or Book of the Laws of the Lands), which is the oldest surviving document in Syriac.

Bardaisan wrote many hymns (madrāshe) in Syriac, which his disciples translated into Greek. They included 150 psalms in pentasyllabic metre, reportedly modelled on those of David, through which he popularized his heretical doctrines (Bardaisan’s son Harmonius is said to have written the tunes). The stanzas of the ...

Article

Maria Lord

(b Tiruvarur, Tamil Nadu, March 24, 1776; d Ettayapuram, Tamil Nadu, October 21, 1835). South Indian composer and musician. He was a member of the Karnatak trimūrti (‘trinity’) of singer-saints (see also Tyāgarāja and Śāstri, Śyāma). Unlike the other two composers of the ‘trinity’, Muttusvāmi Dīkṣitar was born into a musical family. While he was still young his parents took him to Manali, an estate outside Madras, where his father, Rāmasvāmi Dīkṣitar, had been asked to perform. It was there that Muttusvāmi received his first training in vīṇā and vocal music from his father. At the age of 15 he accompanied a yogī on a pilgrimage to Varanasi, where he remained for five years. This period in the North is said to account for his long and serious compositions, which may be influenced by dhrupad. He is known as a bhakta of Devi and Subrahmanya, whose ...

Article

Eliyahu Schleifer

(b Kiev, June 1, 1898; d Tel-Aviv, Jan 27, 1964). Israeli cantor and composer of Ukrainian birth. Born into a family of cantors (both of his grandfathers were cantors, as was his father), he made his cantorial début in Kiev at the age of eight. At the age of 14 he became the choir director at his father's synagogue, where he helped to introduce the 19th-century polyphonic repertory. He studied the piano and theory at the Totovsky Conservatory and later counterpoint and composition with Glière. In 1920 he moved to Chişinău, now in Moldova, where he served as cantor and continued his studies with Abraham Berkowitsch (known as Kalechnik), an authority on cantorial recitatives. After emigrating to the USA in 1926 he served as cantor for congregations in New York and Los Angeles. His extensive recordings with Asch and RCA Victor made him famous in Ashkenazi Jewish communities. In ...

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Nicholas Temperley

(b London, Aug 12, 1825; d Hereford, April 6, 1889). English church musician, scholar and composer. His father, Sir Gore Ouseley (1770–1844), a noted orientalist, was successively ambassador to Persia and to Russia, and was made a baronet in 1808; he was also an amateur musician, and helped found the Royal Academy of Music in 1822. His only son, named after the boy’s godfathers, Frederick, Duke of York, and Arthur, Duke of Wellington, was educated at home in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. In 1840 he was sent as a pupil to James Joyce, vicar of Dorking, who instructed him in the classics and theology. In 1843 he entered Christ Church, Oxford, and the following year inherited his father’s title and estate. He graduated BA in 1846 and received the DMus in 1854. From 1846, when he moved to London, he sang as a lay member of the newly surpliced choir of St Paul’s, Knightsbridge, under its Tractarian vicar W.J.E. Bennett; after his ordination in ...

Article

Gudrun Engberg

revised by Alexander Lingas

(b Emesa [now Homs], Syria, late 5th century; d Constantinople, after 555). Byzantine hymnographer and composer. Perhaps of Jewish descent, he was a deacon in the Church of the Resurrection in Beirut and towards the end of the 5th century went to Constantinople, where he served at the Church of the Virgin in the city’s Kyros quarter. A hymn in Romanos’s honour mentions his acquaintance with the imperial court. He may have become famous during his lifetime, since an almost contemporary papyrus fragment containing part of a well-known hymn by him has been found in Egypt. It is, however, uncertain whether he was the ‘presbyteros’ and ‘ekklēsiekdikos’ mentioned in the acts of the Synod of 536. He was canonized and is commemorated by the Eastern Orthodox Church on 1 October as the patron saint of music.

Romanos’s vita is lost, but summaries are transmitted in Byzantine synaxaria and menologia, according to which Romanos was inspired by the Virgin to write ...

Article

Şahan Arzruni

( fl early 8th century). Armenian hymnographer, poet and pedagogue . Sister of the music theorist Step‘annos Siwnec‘i, she was an ascetic who lived in a cave in the Gaṙni valley (near Erevan) and produced ecclesiastical poems and liturgical chants. Srp‘uhi Mariam (‘Saint Mary’), consisting of nine stanzas in acrostic formation, is her only verse to have survived. Reportedly, many of her šarakaner (hymns) were devoted to the Mother of God (akin to the theotokion in the music of the Byzantine rite) and helped to shape the development of the genre during subsequent centuries. Seated behind a curtain, as the mores of the period required, Sahakduxt taught sacred melodies to clerical students and lay music lovers.

S. Ōrbelyan: Patmut‘yun nahangin Sisakan [History of the Province of Sis] (Tbilisi, 1910), 139 Archbishop Covakan Norayr [Połarian]: Sahakduxt Siwnec‘i ev Srp‘uhi Mariam [Sahakduxt of Siunik and Saint Mary], Hask (Antilias, 1951), 366–7 M. Ōrmanian...

Article

Martin Stokes

(b Sivrialan, Sivas, 1894; d Sivrialan, Sivas, March 21, 1973). Turkish folk musician who was blind. He was the product of a rural Turkish musical culture shaped by Alevi (heterodox Islamic) mysticism since at least the 15th century and focussed on the music of the bağlama or saz (long-necked plucked lute), played by ritual specialists known as aşık (‘lovers’; see Turkey §II 1.). Veysel was also shaped to a significant extent by the experience of nation-building in the early Turkish Republic, achieving distinction at the Republic’s decennial festival, Cumhuriyet Onuncu Yılı, in Ankara in 1933. His songs attracted the attention of the nationalist intelligentsia for their direct and unadorned expression of national sentiment and a humanistic mysticism; his work, largely improvised around fixed melodic and poetic schemes, was written down and extensively published. Songs such as Dostlar beni hatırlasın and Uzun ince bir yoldayım are widely known throughout Turkey. Along with many rural ...

Article

Şahan Arzruni

[Khosrovidukht ]

( fl early 8th century). Armenian hymnographer and poet . Following the abduction of her brother by Muslim Arabs, Xosroviduxt, who was of royal blood, was taken to the fortress of Ani-Kamakh (now Kemah), where she lived in isolation for 20 years. She is reported to have written the šarakan (canonical hymn), ‘Zarmanali ē inj’ (‘Wondrous it is to me’), which honours the memory of her brother, killed in 737 for reclaiming his Christian faith. Despite its secular subject, this florid šarakan has been sanctioned by the Armenian Church for use during service.

L. Ališan: Hušikk‘ hayreneac‘ hayoc‘ [Memories from the Land of the Armenians], ii (St Lazar, 2/1921), 136 H. Ačaṙyan: Hayoc‘ anjnanunneri bararan [Dictionary of Armenian Proper Names] (Beirut, 2/1972), 539 D. Der Hovanessian and M. Margossian, trans. and eds.: Anthology of Armenian Poetry (New York, 1978), 43–4 G. A. Hakobyan: Šarakanneri žanrě hay mi ǰnadaryan grakanut ‘yan me...