Taxidi sta Kythira

Eleni Karaindrou

" [b]Taxidi sta Kythira[/b] is an archetypical Karaindrou score and is a great insight in the musical world of the films of Angelopoulos, which are of consistent high quality. "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the regular release

Greek composer Eleni Karaindrou is a gifted composer from an interesting cultural, political and musical background. She has excelled in writing music for theatre, film and other music, but is generally most known for her many sensitive and iconic collaborations with director Theo Angelopoulos that began in 1984 with Taxidi sta Kythira (Voyage to Cythera). The composer has written a long series of truly unforgettable scores for his following films and each of them can be regarded as individual works of art. Their collaboration ended with the director' last film Trilogia II: I Skoni tou Hronou (The Dust of Times) in 2008 and never got to finish his next film as he passed away in 2012.

Taxidi sta Kythira is a score written in musical idiom which Karaindrou rarely strays away too much from, just like her working methods. She began writing the music while the director was writing the script and wrote the score based on the script and conversations with Angelopoulos. Another very attractive factor in this is that her music was treated with the utmost respect during the editing of the picture, only using intact cues for designated places in the film.

For the score the director wanted a theme for both the son and the father. The classical approach of Karaindrou for their themes is written for a string orchestra with solo oboe, string, cello, piano and mandolin performances. She brilliantly bases the core of the work on the repetitive use of the themes that are heavily rooted in a transcendal and poetic environment. It has much do to with her use of sparse orchestrations and variations, as she can treat a theme in a slow and deeply melancholic manner, while writing it in concerto gross mode, or even in unexpected ways, but I will come to that a bit later. Both themes are brought together in a concerto at the closure of the score. Later works of the composer have a similar approach and are arguably only a richer in their musical palette with more emphasis and intelligent interplay between solo instruments. The oboe player on the score (Hristopolus Vangelis) would become a regular musician in her works and the composer would call upon many more wonderful musicians in the future. Perhaps the most appealing of all was the use of viola player Kim Kashkashian on To Vlemma tou Odyssea (Ulysses' Gaze).

Some of the composer's works have more deviating variations of a theme, or even standalone pieces often used a source music. For instance, Mia Aioniotita kai Mia Mera (Eternity and a Day) has dance-like music for a wedding and Taxidi sta Kythira has a jazz interpretation of the theme. It is simply astounding and I believe the strength of the jazz variation is not just the wonderful performances of the suave saxophone and other typical instruments, but that the melancholy of the classically performed theme can actually sound as inspiring in a jazzy fashion. The same thing applies to a popular song version, performed by Giorgos Dalaras.

Taxidi sta Kythira is an archetypical Karaindrou score and is a great insight in the musical world of the films of Angelopoulos, which are of consistent high quality. There is this sense of nostalgia, a vulnerability and nakedness displayed through the choice of an instrument, a sense of honest suggestion, that the listener is not likely to escape such an unbearably isolated and yet reflective space. She is the kind of composer that writes music that hurts you imminently and deeply, music that might even transcend above every emotional experience felt in your personal life and that takes you on a journey to your inner self. I know it has done that to me and therefore belongs to a limited amount of composers whose music I hold dearest to my heart. I think the choice of words to describe the music of Karaindrou best are, uncoincidentally, the Greek nostalgia and melancholia.

The Minos/EMI cd release is still widely available, so I personally see no need for the digital release by EMI brings us in 2018. However, in digital era such a release might just be the perfect introduction to the work of Eleni Karaindrou.

1. Oniro / Taxidi (2:36)
2. Kontserto (Thema Alexandrou) (3:24)
3. Blues (Periplanisi Stin Poli) (6:27)
4. Thema Tou Choriou (1:43)
5. Taxidi / Figi (2:18)
6. Taxidi Sta Kithira (2:26)
with George Dalaras
7. To Rock Tis Mobil (4:12)
8. Thema Tou Choriou (2:15)
9. Kontserto (L Apofasi) / to Kalesma / to Taxidi (7:29)
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Released by

EMI Music (regular release 2018)