Theodorakis, Mikis - Resistance

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The Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis is one of the few living artists who represent a large section of the twentieth century. He is also one of the most contradictory personalities alive today. Resistance runs through his entire life. First resistance against Italian oppression, then against fascism in his own country, then resistance against an increasingly rigid communism, as he grew older it was the resistance of a conservative against pseudo-progressive globalization, and finally a permanent resistance against his own image. But precisely by constantly shrugging himself off, he has become truly himself and never became a pale shadow of his own past. Once he would have been called a troublemaker; if he were twenty again today he would be classified as a punk or anarchist. For all the political awareness in his art Theodorakis has preserved his delicate sense of poetry and imagination. “I have always pushed my limits, but at the same time I was always conscious of them. I composed knowing that the limits of human existence can only be overcome through imagination, inspiration, and intuition. And I acted on that. Art is the only thing so far that has conquered death. All those who tried to achieve immortality through violence, power, or money have failed. Immortality has no temporal dimension. It is a sign of quality, a strong feeling. Only art can communicate emotion of being immortal for three seconds."

Mikis Theodorakis has written a large number of musical works of varied form and size during his long life. His compositions range from small songs in the style of folksongs, in which the is accompanied only by bouzouki or , to large-scale symphonies, operas, cantatas, masses, and oratories, like his unparalleled Canto General on texts by Pablo Neruda. Surely his most famous work is his often-copied music for the classic film Alexis Sorbas, which starred Anthony Quinn. It is important to note that this soundtrack appeared in 1964, and thus that Theodorakis was already a world star three years before he was imprisoned by the Greek military junta in August 1967. Theodorakis‘s protest songs, written from the late sixties to mid-seventies, met with great international interest because there was a parallel movement of the protest song worldwide, led by figures like Bob Dylan, Viktor Jara, and Pete Seeger, singing for the ears and hearts of a rebellious young audience. Several of his songs were smuggled out of the country, at great personal risk, and became popular in interpretations by Melina Mercouri and Maria Farantouri. He recorded them under the most primitive conditions. For example, his percussion instrument was just a table struck by a ruler.

Resistance is not a summary of the resistances in the life of Mikis Theodorakis but three cycles of songs he wrote during the Greek dictatorship from 1967 to 1974, underground, on the run, in prison, under house arrest, banished, and in exile. His songs have lost nothing of their urgency precisely because they are so movingly simple. Some sound like invocations, others like calls to struggle, still others like declarations of love. It isn’t necessary to understand the words to comprehend that Theodorakis draws on a deep well of everyday and deeply human observations and experiences when he creates. The texts are by the great Greek writers and poets whom Theodorakis met in the resistance; but without exception he made their words into a language that was of a piece with his own body.

When we hear these simple songs, it is difficult to reconcile them with the artist who set the texts of the church father Johannes Damaskinos in a large-scale requiem. As Theodorakis sees himself, however, this contradiction is simply logical. For him music is a metaphor for life, whatever the political circumstances may be. “For me, the quintessence of the gift of life lies in the harmonic laws that penetrate and determine us. Harmony is the only thing that makes it possible to live
Artikelnummer INT33782
Streckkod 0750447337824
Utgivningsdatum 2005-03-07
Kategori Visa
Skivbolag Wergo
Enhet CD
Antal enheter 1
Artister Theodorakis, Mikis
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