To Meteoro Vima Tou Pelargou

Eleni Karaindrou

" The indelible score is based on a single melodic theme. "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the regular release

To Meteoro Vima Tou Pelargou (The Suspended Step of the Stork) was the first film of Theo Angelopoulos’ border trilogy, followed by To Vlemma tou Odysse (Ulysses' Gaze) and Mia Aioniotita kai Mia Mera (Eternity and a Day). The film’s poetic tracking shots, metaphysical themes involving social boundaries between countries and people, were complimented by a mesmerizing original score by Greek composer Eleni Karaindrou.

The indelible score is based on a single melodic theme, and the repetitive use of this Refugee theme slowly reaches transcendental and poetic depths, which is a typical trademark throughout the composers career when working with Angopoulous. Karaindrou deploys a set of colors in the traditions of a concerto grosso, with a modest string orchestra and solo oboe, french horn, cello, harp and accordion - the concertino - that playfully carries the DNA of the theme over from one instrument to another, slowly progressing with an intimacy and melancholy that is inevitably deeply moving.

The Suspended Step (13:07) does not only offer various beautiful variations on the refugee theme, which on its own is very spacious and intimate in scope, but extents on the slow emotional (chord) progressions to great dramatic heights, in which the delicate lyricism of the theme truly reveals all underlying meditative qualities, even unnerving traces. It is the most impressive cue Karaindrou has ever written, which can be perceived almost as a singular autonomous contemporary piece. 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. So perhaps, this is what makes me love this cue the most, both as a standalone experience, but also as an integral part of the overall experience.

It must be said, even this score includes two cues, Hassaposerviko and Waltz of the Bride, that disrupt the overall experience, but even these two pieces are incredibly good; the composer has a true gift for writing a great waltz. The accordion is present in the film, as diegetic music, or aiding the illustrative, desolate feel of the borders between Greece and several other regions and countries, while providing a transcendent human emotion, as a piece of score. Even though Hassaposerviko is an ancient dance from Constantinople, the accordion connects many of the regions, such as the Slavic Albania, in which the same instrument plays a vital part in their musical heritage.

To Meteoro Vima Tou Pelargou was originally released by ECM on CD and LP, followed by a 2018 digitally remastered re-release. Unfortunately, for reasons unknown, the quintessential 13-minute-long cue is missing. Since I feel Eleni Karaindrou is one of the few composers who so deeply resonates with me, this is simply unexplainable.

1. Refugee's Theme (1:19)
2. Search (Refugee's Theme Variation A) (1:22)
3. The Suspended Step (13:07)
4. Train (Car Neighbourhood Variation A) (1:27)
5. Refugee's Theme (1:20)
6. River (Refugee's Theme) (1:03)
7. Refugee's Theme (Symphonic Variation No. 1) (2:16)
8. Train (Car Neighbourhood Variation B) (1:35)
9. Refugee's Theme (Symphonic Variation No. 2) (0:42)
10. Hassaposerviko (1:43)
11. Search (Refugee's Theme Variation B) (1:16)
12. Waltz of the Bride (2:35)
13. Finale (4:17)
14. River (Refugee's Theme) (1:03)

Total duration: 35:05

(written 17-05-2021)
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 5 votes - average 3.4/5)

Released by

ECM (regular release 1994)