In today’s programme, we’ll be taking a musical journey through ancient worlds, from Greece and Rome, to the Americas, the South Pacific, Antartica – and even the Moon. The music today is inspired by the so-called Piri Reis Map (fragment
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From the Library: Ancient Journeys

in Daily Programme

by Elrik Merlin on Saturday, 27 November, 2010

In today’s programme, we’ll be taking a musical journey through ancient worlds, from Greece and Rome, to the Americas, the South Pacific, Antartica – and even the Moon.

The music today is inspired by the so-called Piri Reis Map (fragment shown above), compiled in 1513 by the Ottoman sea-captain Hadji Muhiddin Piri Ibn Hadji Mehmed from a number of sources including a map created by Christopher Columbus. It was discovered in the Library of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, where it remains today, in 1929. It shows a great many parts of the world in unusually high (though not the highest) detail for the period, including the Eastern coast of South America. Only part of the map is still extant.

It has been suggested that the map shows the coast of Antartica as it would be without any ice-cover, and thus it has been conjectured that the map was based on previous charts created by some advanced pre-Classical civilisation. In fact it’s more likely that it’s the coast of South America bent round to fit the parchment.

The map suggested itself as an inspiration for today’s music, as a result of discovering some music about the map-maker (writes Elrik Merlin). The other week I heard my colleague Edward Pearse (who does the Friday show) playing a stunning piece of symphonic soundtrack-like music from an outfit called E S Posthumus. They turn out to be a pair of brothers based in LA, Helmut and Franz Vonlichten (Franz sadly died earlier this year), with three albums and some singles to their name, and some major TV and film trailer themes. One of their albums is called Cartographer. It’s inspired by the myths surrounding Piri Reis’s map, and we’ll be featuring it today. It includes lyrics that sound Italian or Latin but may in fact be a vocal melisma like that found in Karl Jenkins’s Adiemus albums, where words are used for their sound rather than their meaning. (And as we’re taking an extended voyage today, we’ll be hearing his Imagined Oceans today too.)

We will also touch the shores of Antartica with Vaughan Williams, ancient South America with Cusco, the South Pacific with Jalan Jalan, the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World with Stuart Mitchell, and the land of the Cathars with Christian Sales. We’ll even visit the Moon with both Laurie Johnson and Mannheim Steamroller, and discover ancient peoples with Hans Zimmer. And, of course, a great deal more. The music is largely, but not exclusively, instrumental, with conventional and electronic instrumentation. We do hope you enjoy the journey.

And don’t forget to join us for the final instalments of our two current ZBS radio serials in the ZBS Radio Hour at 11am and 7pm Pacific (7pm and 3am UK time).

Today’s programme is presented by Elrik Merlin and produced by Radio Riel in conjunction with our friends at the Alexandrian Free Library Consortium of Second Life. You can listen to the programme in-world now at http://main.radioriel.org, or simply click here to start your player, if your browser is configured to do so. Listeners in the United States are encouraged to tune in using this link: http://loudcity.com/stations/radio-riel/tune_in

For more information on the Alexandrian Free Library, current exhibits and the work of Consortium members in general, please visit the Alexandrian Free Library website, or one of their branches in-world.

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