Elegy of the Uprooting

Nenad Georgievski By

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Eleni Karaindrou
Elegy of the Uprooting

There haven't been many female film music composers throughout the history of film. This list is comprised of maybe 10-15 names, with the likes of Rachel Portman, Wendy Carlos, Jocelyn Pook, Lisa Gerrard and especially Eleni Karaindrou standing out. In fact, there aren't that many film music composers of either gender whose music can live outside the context of the moving pictures. On the other hand, there haven't been too much film music composers who actually went outside of the recording studios onto the performing stage with their film music. Morricone, Jocelyn Pook, Goran Bregovic, Michael Nyman are those that come to mind, and, of course, Eleni Karaindrou.

Mostly known for her work with director Theo Angelopoulos with whom she has worked for years, Karaindrou has scored music for more than 20 films and 40 theatre plays. Angelopoulos has said of her contributions to his work, "Eleni Karaindrou's music doesn't accompany the images—it penetrates the images, it becomes an inextricable part of the images. I would say it takes part of what is called anima, so, in the end, you can't tell one from the other—that's how closely knit they are... I believe that Eleni is at the moment one of the best existing film musicians in the world."

Elegy of the Uprooting —both the CD and the video—sums up Karaindrou's film work in a different setting—the live stage. Two years after the live CD was released comes the video accompaniment. This video was recorded at the Megaron, Athens in 2005 and it was a one-off event. Film music is usually written primarily to enhance the imagery but, every so often, the score is strong enough to stand on its own. The general theme here is that of the uprooted, the ones who were either by choice or by fate exiled or "uprooted" from their homelands. This music laments their exile and misfortune, offering brief moments of sanctuary.

Karaindrou's music leaves plenty of space for her imagination to surface, which can project both sadness and serenity with equal conviction and intensity. Throughout the years, Karaindrou has been very successful because she was able to connect with the heart of the film and simultaneously, with the viewer. Like the folk music of her country, with which she is closely connected, it engages both the mind and heart.

Eleni Karaindrou treats a captivated audience to some of her most beloved compositions from movies that date as far as Voyage to Cythera until her recent work, such as Weeping Meadow and Trojan Women. The strength of her work lies in her sincere sense of spirituality and the gift for creating other-worldly harmonies that are threaded into opulent orchestral tapestries. On this live recording, her piano quietly blends with the delicately layered philharmonic sound on a seemingly endless stream of melancholy themes. Karaindrou deals with this heavy subject with the help of The Camerata Orchestra, conducted by Alexandros Myrat, the Hellenic Radio / Television Choir led by Antonis Kontogeorgiou, the Traditional Instruments Ensemble and Maria Farantouri, the vocal soloist, whose association with Karaindrou's music goes back to the early 1970s.

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