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One of the most important musical projects inside the neoclassical/folk noir scene must be the German or rather European music ensemble Sagittarius. The project was born back in 1998, formed by Cornelius Waldner who felt the urge and need to work more intensively with classical music and soundscapes and to musically interpret traditional pieces of literature dear to him. Until now, Sagittarius released three full-lenght albums through labels like Cold Spriing Records (UK) and Renovatio Verlag (Germany), plus several limited edition releases. The first two releases of Sagittarius were two demo cassettes, Im Zeichen der Sonne (1999) and Fragmente (2002), soon after that Sagittarius released the debut album titled Die Grosse Marina in 2003 through Renovatio Verlag. The album is a conceptual composition based on Ernst Jünger's novel 'On The Marble Cliffs', but should not be understood as an attempt to put the entire book into music, instead, selected scenes and passages were picked out and inspired Sagittarius during the process of creation. Apart from six own compositions, the album also included musical pieces by Ion Manzatu, Simion Lefter and Ludwig van Beethoven.

Then after a few self-released very limited special EPs and compilations of unreleased material, five years after the second full-lenght, Songs From The Ivory Tower, came out through Cold Spring Records in May 2008. The opus contained 15 pieces of dark neoclassical music mainly based on poems by Stefan George, Bernhard von Uxkull-Gyllenband, Gottfried Benn, Ludwig Uhland and Timo Kölling, plus a number of instrumental pieces. Then in 2012 the monumental album, The Kingdom Come, came out in August 2012 again via Cold Spring Records. The album was even more influenced by the intellectual world of the German poet Stefan George, the album contained 18 compositions standing in the tradition of the classic European art song, blending sophisticated neoclassical compositions with a touch of suicidal folk noir, and underlining the project's role as a sophisticated musical interpreter of traditional German and European word art.

Now, five years after the release of the album The Kingdom Come, a new Sagittarius release is scheduled to be released on 22nd September 2017. A six track tone poem, the EP entitled Aithiopis will be released under Sagittarius' imprint Die Neue Runde in a specially designed limited edition of 100 hand-numbered copies, presented in a digipack and featuring several exclusive accompaniments. Aithiopis is a slowly moving piano driven dark poem, yet more orchestral and symphonic than prior Sagittarius releases. After a fashion, a return to the conceptual approach of Sagittarius's debut album Die Grosse Marina, where it was not the entire myth that was turned to music, but selected scenes and stills from the story. Since the original poem is unknown, the lost text is substituted with lyrics taken from the 'Posthomerica' by Quintus Smyrnaeus, arranged and spoken in Classical Greek by Acherontas V.Priest (Acherontas, Shibalba), a dear friend of Cornelius Waldner for many years. The text follows the edition of Hermann Koechly (1850) as published in Quintus Smyrnaeus, The Fall of Troy. With an English translation by Arthur S. Way (London: William Heinemann, 1913). The initial poem, attributed to the poet Arctinus Milesius and said to be written in the early 8th century BC, is lost. Its contents is only known through a summary in the 'Chrestomathy' of Proclus (dated approx. 140 AD).

Sagittarius mastermind Cornelius Waldner stated: "Why do I write these thoughts about a forgotten piece of poetry? Imagine a scholar and six year old child that had learned to read far too early, having just read 'Gods and Heroes of Ancient Greece' by Gustav Schwab, classic retellings of Ancient Greek myths and legends. The child tells the scholar, an internationally renowned professor of Latin and German literature, Finnish translator of Virgil's 'Aeneis', Goethe's 'Roman Elegies' and Hölderlin's poem 'Bread and Wine', about the book and the story of the Trojan War. The professor answers, "Did you know that Homer's Iliad actually covers only two weeks of the entire Trojan War?" The child answers, "No! And from which book is the story about Memnon and Achilles?" The professor replies, "That story is from a book called Aithiopis.“ The child asks, "Where can I get that book, do you have it and can you borrow it to me?" The professor smiles and replies, "No, unfortunately I can't. The Aithiopis has been lost for thousands of years." The child remains silent, sad and disappointed, having encountered the fact that all art, even the written word, is evanescent. This event took place about 32 years ago, and as one might guess, that child was me. Since then, the Classical World, its mythology and history, has been a constant companion in both my life and artistic endeavours, and something in me is still in pain that the 'Aithiopis', just like most other parts of the Epic Cycle, is lost forever. A first attempt in 2007 to set the myths related to the Aithiopis to music, failed. To revive the stories of Penthesileia, Memnon and Achilles on an audial level, the idea was to compile an album involving several bands and music projects. Unfortunately, this project could not be completed despite fine contributions by Kammer Sieben and Seelenlicht, and so the idea was put to rest for a long time. Two years ago, as a result of a renewed interest in Quintus Smyrnaeus as well as Raoul Schrott's much discussed German translation of the 'Iliad', I returned to my aforementioned music fragments and decided to complete 'Aithiopis' as a coherent and organic composition."

Featuring founding member Cornelius Waldner and vocalist Herr Twiggs as core members, Sagittarius has over the years worked with a number of highly skilled musicians, including sG (Secrets Of The Moon), Michael DE Victor (While Angels Watch), Josef K. (Von Thronstahl), Theresia W., Meister Ketu, Satoko the Cat, and most recently Thomas Bøjden (Die Weisse Rose) and Acherontas V.Priest (Acherontas, Shibalba). Later this year or in the early 2018 a new album entitled Lieder von Traum und Tod is expected to be released.

Sagittarius discography:
1999 - Im Zeichen der Sonne [Demo]
2002 - Fragmente [Demo]
2003 - Die Grosse Marina
2006 - Salon Décadence [Split CD]
2006 - Fragmente II [EP]
2008 - Dreams And Dust [EP]
2008 - Songs From The Ivory Tower
2010 - To Aoide [EP]
2012 - The Kingdom Come
2013 - Fragmente III: Fassungen [EP]
2013 - The Ivory Rehearsals [Digital EP]
2014 - Fragmente IV: Abraxas [EP]
2017 - Aithiopis [EP]

Sagittarius links: Official website, Facebook, Bandcamp