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Eleni Karaindrou: Elegy of the Uprooting

Nenad Georgievski By

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On Elegy of the Uprooting, composer extraordinaire Eleni Karaindrou has produced music of sublime beauty, peace and introspection. Supported by an enormous ensemble of 110 musicians—including an orchestra, choir, traditional music ensemble, and various soloists, including singer Maria Farantouri—she combines lush voice-like textures and patient soaring melodies to create timeless compositions that are both soothing and haunting.

Just like many well-known film directors who have associated with certain composers (eg. Krzysztof Kieslowski and Zbigniew Preisner, Sergio Leone and Ennio Morriconne), Greek director Theo Angelopolous has worked closely with composer Eleni Karaindrou on the soundtracks for his films for more than twenty years. For many years as they have worked together, Karaindrou has proven herself to be succesful at capturing the essense of Angelopolous' movies, thus rendering her music unseparable from the moving pictures. Her moving, sweeping soundtracks are unobtrusive but absolutely central to the f ilms—and importantly, they can be enjoyed regardless whether or not you have seen or not the films. It is rare to find film music that is as important as the acting in the film.

Even though this is a live recording, Karaindrou's characteristic highly textural sound is prominent throughout. The orchestra goes performing themes from works for films such as Ulysees' Gaze, The Weeping Meadow, The Suspended Step of the Stork, Eternety and A Day, Landscape in a Mist, The Beekeper, Voyage to Cythera (films by Theo Angelopolous), Happy Homecoming, Comrade (by Lefteris Xanthopoulos), Rosa (by Christoforos Christofis), and lesser-known works such as music from The Price of Love by Tonia Marketaki and the music for Chekhov's play The Seagull. Karaindrou's music is never ostentatious or melodramatic. Instead, it is minimal and suffused with a fragile beauty. She brings forth slow patient washes of melodic warmth, drifting spacy ambience, and wave after wave of audio bliss.

For a long time her music has been associated with Greek folk music, but for the wrong reasons. It is not simple the usage of folk instruments in her scores, but the melodicity and the contrasting emotions that prevail and are typical in Greek and Balkan folk music. The music is as uplifting and joyful as it is sad, at the same time exalting and melancholic. But, whatever approach taken or whatever are the influences, Eleni shows that she knows her craft well and that she is a master at allowing her music to unfurl in very imaginable ways.

Elegy of the Uprooting is a culmination of Karaindrou's career as a composer, since it sums the best of her works, performed by an exceptional orchestra. The music can be enjoyed on many different levels. This fresh, unique, and daring dreamscape of rich music can blow you away with its diversity and melancholy beauty.

Track Listing: CD1: Prayer; Refugee's Theme; The Weeping Meadow; Dance; An Ode of Tears; For the Phrygian Land Vast Mourning; By the Sea; Depart and Eternity Theme; Rosa's Aria; Memories; Hecuba's Lament/Hecuba's Theme II; Telamon, You Came to Conquer Our Town; The City That Gave Birth to You was Consumed by Fire; An Ode of Tears; Theme of the Uprooting I; The Weeping Meadow II; Voyage; Voyage to Cythera; On the Road. CD2: Parade; Return; Andromache's Theme; The Land I Call Home; Home of My Forefathers; I Wish I'm Given There; Refugee's Theme; The Seagull; Song of the Lake; Adagio--Father's Theme; In Vain the Sacrifices; My Beloved, Your Soul is Wandering; Decision; Farewell Theme; Theme of the Lake; Hecuba's Theme II; Lament for Astynax; Exodus; The Weeping Meadow.

Personnel: Maria Farantouri: voice; Vangelis Christopoulos: oboe; Socratis Sinopoulos: Constantinople lyra; Maria Bildea: harp; Kostantinos Raptis: accordion, bayan; Sergiu Nastasa: violin; Renato Ripop: cello; Stella Gadedi: flute; Nikos Guinos: clarinet; Socratis Anthis: trumpet; Spyros Kazianis: bassoon; Vangelis Skouras: French horn; Aristotelis Dimitriadis: mandolin; Eleni Karaindrou: piano; traditional instruments ensemble: Maria Bildea: harp; Socratis Sinopoulos: Constantinople lyra, laouto; Christos Tsimoulis: ney; Panos Dimitrakopoulos: kanonaki; Andreas Katsiyiannis: santouri; Andreas Papas: bendir, daouli; Camerata Orchestra, Alexandros Myrat, conductor; Hellenic Radio/Television Choir, Antonis Kontogeorgiou, choiri.

Title: Elegy of the Uprooting | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: ECM Records

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