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  • Ancient Echoes - Music from the time of Jesus and Jerusalem's Second Temple
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Ancient Echoes - Music from the time of Jesus and Jerusalem's Second Temple

31 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 5, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble (SAVAE) invites people from different faiths to celebrate their various religious roots with the gift of song. The Ancient Echoes CD features recreations of music from the time of Jesus and Jerusalem's Second Temple, which makes it the perfect gift for people of all denominations. Composed after years of intense study, Ancient Echoes draws from Jewish and Christian sources and Islamic influences to create a collection of spiritual and emotive choral and instrumental pieces.

SAVAE takes a landmark step toward recreating ancient music of the Holy Land - including original prayers of Jesus, sung in his native Aramaic language, sacred Levitical music from Jerusalem's Second Temple, and Essene chant from the Dead Sea Scrolls. A vibrant culture that was enriched by contact with distant lands connected along caravan routes is recaptured here, as SAVAE's voices ring out above the driving pulse of Middle Eastern rhythms to harmonize with ancient instruments. In this musical remembrance, Judaic and Christian scripture offer the listener renewed inspiration.

About the Artist

The San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble (SAVAE) is a renowned choral and instrumental group dedicated to exploring the origins of ancient music. They have appeared on National Public Radio's Performance Today several times between their numerous U.S. tours. Their previous recordings of Aztec and Nahua music have received rave reviews, including Guadalupe: Virgen de los Indios, featured on National Public Radio's Weekend Edition.


1. Ashir shirim (I Will Sing Songs to God) - Wedding Song
2. Rannanu (Sing with Joy) - Chant from the Dead Sea Scrolls
3. Abwoon (O Father-Mother of the Cosmos) - The Aramaic Lord's Prayer
4. Arabian Dance - Instrumental
5. Song of Seikilos - 1st Century Greek song
6. Tubwayhun l'ahbvday sh'lama (Blessed are the Peacemakers)
7. Sounding of the Shofar & Shema Israel (Hear, O Israel)
8. Bircath Cohenim (The Priestly Blessing)
9. Wa y'daber Elohim (And God Spoke) - The Ten Commandments
10. Tubwayhun layleyn d'khafnin w'tseyn (Blessed Are Those Who Hunger & Thirst)
11. Ze Eli meode (This Is My Supreme God) - Wedding Song
12. Tubwayhun l'miskeneh'eh b'ruh (Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit)
13. Psalm 114: B'tseth Israel (When Israel Went Forth From Egypt)
14. Tubwayhun l'bwileh (Blessed Are They That Mourn)
15. Abwoon - Spoken Prayer
16. Bircath Cohenim – Reprise

Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 5, 2002)
  • Original Release Date: November 5, 2002
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: World Library Publications
  • ASIN: B00006SKPY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #163,158 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

80 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on November 22, 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've listened to a lot of Jewish music, but never anything quite like this! True, there is no way to prove that every note is accurate. When a person makes a photocopy of a picture and then makes a photocopy of the copy, etc. the picture degrades with each generation. No one claims that this hasn't happened. That is why the CD is called Ancient Echoes. That being said, this is one of the most exciting finds I've come across lately. I am a collector of antiquities. I specialize in early Christian roots. You can be sure I pounced on this! It more than matched my expectations.
The CD comes with ample liner notes (12 pages) that fully describe the project. Each trac is explained. The project is well researched.
I cannot recommend this CD highly enough.
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48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 27, 2002
Format: Audio CD
When I first began to listen to the cd I wasn't sure what to expect, but after listening to the first song "Ashir Shirim", I was hooked & I knew the rest had to be good. With each song, I felt like dancing, kneeling & praying or meditating. The music is very ethereal,transporting you back into time & renews & refreshens the inner soul. What a blessing & inspiration! The more I listen to it, the more I yearn to hear it again! Each song is so unique & different from the next. I could not believe when reading the liner notes ,that like the guadalupe cd's, they sung & played the instruments in this new one. The instruments are so different & the rhythms difficult. And of course, the vocals....excellent! The research was also incredible. The studying of the languages comes through in their articulation, sounding very true to the languages spoken during that time. Then there is the compositions themselves...WOW... not enough can be said for the details given. SAVAE is wonderful on the Guadalupe cd's, but once again, with this cd, they have proven the talented musicianship it takes to be SAVAE.
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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful By William W. Snelling on December 23, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I team teach an honors humanities class for 11th grade students. I incorporated music from this extraordinary CD into our study of the roots of western European music. The reaction was immediate and stupendous. This music has a primal beauty that cuts through the clatter of modern pop music. Many of the students asked where they could purchase a copy. My colleagues in the room were touched by it as well. SAVAE has created an invaluable educational tool as well as a marvelously crafted work of art. The sonorities alone make this worth purchasing. The balance between the instruments, spoken word and sung prose is impeccable. The musicianship is beyond reproach. If you want something that will become essential in your classroom, buy this CD. If you want something that will speak to you as an artist, buy this CD. If you want something that will move your soul, buy this CD.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 20, 2003
Format: Audio CD
SAVAE's founders invested years of study to learn about ancient music from Palestine/Israel. In addition, much time was devoted to mastering the pronounciation of ancient Hebrew and Aramaic. All of this research is explained in the CD liner notes, as well as on the group's web site: [...] SAVAE is first and foremost a musical ensemble dedicated to performing historically accurate ancient music. The seven SAVAE members are people of faith, which is personal and not an aspect of the group's work. Nonetheless, as is the case with much early music, the texts on SAVAE's CD are scripture from either the Hebrew Old Testament or the Aramaic New Testament. Questions about a link to Sufism seem to have arisen because we chose to use the translations of author and Biblical scholar Neil Douglas-Klotz PhD., who is also a Sufi teacher. Neil has spent the past 20 years studying and translating Jesus' words from Aramaic to English. SAVAE members and audiences alike have found his translations inspiring. The music itself has been reconstructed from ancient melodic themes as catalogued by Jewish musicologist A.Z. Idelsohn.
Covita & Christopher Moroney - SAVAE founders
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By "cleelovetoread" on June 7, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I first heard selections from this CD on National Public Radio's Weekend Edition. The host had two members of SAVAE as guests on her show. I was mesmerized by the music and the extraordinary effort that SAVAE (San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble) put into understanding the music. It is a study of prayer, music and text that has survived from the Holy Land at the time of Christ. You will hear prayers sung and recited in Jesus' native language-Aramaic, chants based on material from the Dead Sea Scrolls and sacred music sung in the temples of Jerusalem.
A winning combination of Christian and Judaic scripture, and who can think of a time when we need it more?
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By John Wheeler on May 28, 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This album is the best evocation I've heard yet of Middle Eastern music at the end of antiquity. Most of it deals with the folk music (liturgical and otherwise) of the ancient synagogues. SAVAE also takes certain Beatitudes from the Aramaic New Testament (Peshitta) version and one song text taken from the Dead Sea Scrolls and sets them to ancient folk melodies. The ensemble's artistry then transforms these humble and often tonally bizarre tunes into beautiful, accessible and fascinating art songs.
SAVAE granted me the opportunity to review "Ancient Echoes" before it was released, and I've heard the ensemble in three live concerts of this music since. One thing I still notice is that the synagogal scripture chants as such, however artfully performed, are almost always =detached= from the sense of the words -- especially in the case of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20). The medieval Babylonian Jewish wedding songs are notable exceptions to this rule of detachment. So are the three early "classical" works on the recording: the famous Song of Seikilos from ancient Greece, the medieval "Arabian Dance", and the two versions of the Priestly Blessing ("Bircath Cohenim [sic]") taken from Numbers 6:22-27 in the Hebrew Masoretic Text. The melody from the latter was deciphered from the Masoretic musical accentuation by the late Suzanne Haik-Vantoura and was taken from her own first recording, likewise sold on Amazon.com. In performance it is slightly ornamented to reflect the musical trends documented for the late Second Temple period, occuring even among the Levites. (I have waited twenty years to hear such a glorious rendition of Haik-Vantoura's Priestly Blessing; and I understand it's a favorite of the ensemble, the producers and the audiences alike.
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