Abstract

In 1876, Albert-Louis Bourgault-Ducoudray published a collection of “melodies from Greece and the Orient” in the conviction that he had found vestiges of Ancient Greek music in Greek folk music of his day. Bringing folk music to the attention of the educated classes, he hoped to fertilize art music and create the preconditions for a Greek national music. He also supplied the melodies that he collected with piano accompaniment, that is, he harmonized them. In his mind, harmonization was but the first step toward the formation of a Greek national music. Soon after this, his Greek project was embedded in hindsight in a broader Aryanist project explicitly described in the “Introduction” to his 1885 collection of Breton folk songs. Folk song harmonizations then became the first step toward the formation of the Aryan art music of the future. In the 1890s, he worked with Greek baritone Periklis Aravantinos, alias Aramis, to produce what he thought of as musical arguments for Aryanism. Aramis, a collector and harmonizer of folk songs himself, appeared in 1903 before Greek audiences in an attempt to promote a national school of music. Aramis’s and Bourgault-Ducoudray’s ideas on folk song harmonization and national music were in part vindicated by composer Spyros Samaras, a common friend, especially in the latter’s symbolically loaded Rhea (1908). His and other musical nationalisms were eclipsed by the appearance of the man most readily connected today to a Greek national school of music, Manolis Kalomoiris.

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