Elegy of the Uprooting

Eleni Karaindrou

" Elegy of the Uprooting combines the intimacy (regardless of all musicians involved) I like in any live performance, strongly upholds the essence of what defines Karaindrou, while there are some predictable choices in the program. "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the regular release

Eleni Karaindrou is a Greek composer of music for film, TV, classical and theatre works, while she is also actively participating in concerts, of which Elegy of the Uprooting of 2005 is nonpareil, closely followed by her Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Acropolis concert in 1988. Some concerts received (CD) releases, while others are only available through (shortened) behind the scenes videos and fragmented bits of a music recording, which makes it a rather unexplored area of her career, beyond knowing virtually all of her actual original writings by heart, and almost all in context. I would like to think whenever the original composer is involved in a concert, as a consultant, conductor, or performer of an instrument, it would do justice to someone's music. Sometimes, some individual pieces do, and they offer great new insights to a score, but overall they rarely do. In general, the same applies to concerts without any participation of the composer at hand. With or without the involvement of the original composers, the things that matter most in concerts are quite diverse; how much it deviates from the original (recording), does it carry the signature sound of the composer - and if it deviates from it, does it add something new and refreshing? -, how well is it performed, the program itself….

Live instruments embody the soul; they reach deeply, but whenever someone is to judge a concert recording, some of that is lost in translation, and depending on a variety of reasons, most important of all: does it strike a chord that makes it strongly connected to the original intent and recording? Also, the vibration of life instruments, which is a well-cherished experience, translates into a false over-appreciation of a recording, which cannot compete with that, thus the 'false' emotional remembrance takes over in valuing such a recording. I have never been lively present in a concert by Karaindrou, yet I feel the performances and the intent bring me as closely as possible to the essence of her music. Yes, she is one of my favourite composers, but while she, especially in this specific concert and recording, is true to her music through extensive roles, is where the great majority of any given composer (and others responsible for reviving someone's music) generally fail to impress.

The foundation of Eleni Karaindrou' work is based on the repetitive use of the themes that are heavily rooted in a transcendal and poetic environment. It has much to do with her use of sparse orchestrations and variations, as she can treat a theme in a slow and profoundly melancholic manner while writing it in concerto grosso mode, or even in unexpected ways. Still, I will come to that a bit later. This sense of nostalgia, vulnerability, and nakedness is displayed through the choice of an instrument, a sense of honest suggestion, that the listener is not likely to escape such an unbearably isolated yet reflective space. She is the type 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 tend to approach many of her scores as one whole, with a limited amount of themes used as a continuously floating series of (emotionally) linked shorter pieces, with the outstanding interplay between the individual instruments. Elegy of the Uprooting combines the intimacy (regardless of all musicians involved) I like in any live performance and firmly upholds the essence of what defines Karaindrou. At the same time, there are some predictable choices in the program.

The music is performed by Camerata Orchestra, the Hellenic Radio and Television Choir, and includes numerous solo musicians recurring, formerly used in the original recording of these scores. Vangelis Christopoulos' oboe and Sokratis Sinopoulos' lyra performances are some of the many consistently evocative, and important players in bringing Karaindrou' music to live, while Maria Farantouri' voice and the choir arguably provide the most evocative moments of the entire concert; An Ode of Tears from Trojan Women.

Also, there is a commercially available DVD registration.


Disc One:

Prayer - 3:59
Refugee's Theme - 1:42
The Weeping Meadow - 3:28
Dance - 3:30
An Ode of Tears - 4:07
For the Phrygian Land a Vast Mourning - 2:08
By the Sea - 1:25
Depart and Eternity Theme - 6:21
Rosa's Aria - 3:52
Memories - 2:43
Hecuba's Lament / Hecuba's Theme II - 1:39
Telamon, You Came to Conquerour Town - 1:41
The City That Gave Birth to You Was Consumed by Fire - 2:02
An Ode of Tears - 0:36
Theme of the Uprooting I - 0:42
The Weeping Meadow II - 2:08
Voyage - 1:57
Voyage to Cythera - 2:17
On the Road - 3:10

Disc Two:

Parade - 2:56
Return - 2:25
Andromache's Theme- 0:53
The Land I Call Home - 1:46
Home of My Forefathers - 1:46
I Wish I'm Given There - 1:21
Refugee's Theme - 2:01
The Seagul - 1:26
The Song of the Lake- 2:26
Adagio - Father's Theme - 2:56
In Vain the Sacrifices - 2:13
My Beloved, Your Soul is Wandering - 2:58
The Decision - 2:40
The Farewell Theme - 4:25
Theme of the Lake - 2:32
Hecuba's Theme II- 1:03
Lament for Astyanax - 2:11
Exodos - 2:48
The Weeping Meadow - 2:53

(written 11-04-2022)

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(total of 3 votes - average 5/5)

Released by

ECM (regular release 2006)