AND THE REDEMPTION OF POP MUSIC
A NEW ARRANGEMENT OF FIVE LEGENDARY SONGS FROM THE ORATOrio AXION ESTI
Performed and arranged by POLIVIOS with Ensemble Logos. Each video features historical and contemporary footage of Greece interspersed with the performance and an article on Theodorakis, the art of the song and the redemption of pop music.
a solitary swallow ενα το χελιδονι
Accompanying article: THEODORAKIS AND THE REDEMPTION OF POP MUSIC
WITH THE STAR’S LAMP Με Το Λύχνο Του Άστρου
Accompanying article: Art and Revolution. The power of song - creative freedom versus social/behavioural engineering
THE INTELLIGIBLE SUN OF JUSTICE Της ΔικαιοσΥνης Ήλιε ΝοηΤΕ
Accompanying article: The task of poetry - The poet as prophet
More information about Theodorakis, Axion Esti and this project:
Theodorakis’s masterpiece Axion Esti is an oratorio based on selections from the epic poem of the same name by Nobel Prize winning Greek poet Odysseus Elytis. Theodorakis set this highly complex text to music with acute sensitivity, producing an unprecedented modern masterpiece drawing from over 2000 years of music across many traditions – from Western classical forms to the roots of folk song. Scored for large orchestra (including folk instruments such as santur, bouzouki and guitar), large choir and soloists, the work’s many movements feature modern orchestral composition, Byzantine chant, poetic declamation/recitation – and perhaps what have become the most famous parts – the five folk songs, known by heart by virtually every Greek.
Here is my offering of these songs – songs I have grown to love nearly more than all others. I have arranged them for a small ensemble: piccolo, flute, four horns, clarinet, bass clarinet, guitar, bouzouki, bass, and lyre (small harp). Accompanying each song will be a short text discussing the predicament of popular music today – and its possible redemption. I believe that in Theodorakis as man and artist we have the most perfect example of what art can do and what a true music of the people could be.
Here is my small contribution to carrying the message of the great composer Mikis Theodorakis and the great poets of his age – with all their nobility and power – to a wider audience. As a composer, I have profound respect for the conviction and humility that Theodorakis shows in stripping away his masterful understanding of classical composition and writing “lowly” popular songs. Having composed many pop songs myself (long before I knew of Mikis’s popular songs), attempting to imbue them with powerful poetic content and a stimulating message alongside a form that rises above the naïve simplicity that is the norm, I gave up hope – at least within the industry. I stand newly inspired and reinvigorated by the courage and bravery of Theodorakis, who repeatedly risked his life for his convictions.
At the time of writing this, Mikis Theodorakis at the age of 93 is still in the fight and recently gave a speech before at least 140,000 people in demonstration and awareness of human freedom. In Theodorakis we have a true living hero to look up to: an endangered figure in this modern age, and one that should be cherished.