“There is no point in an artist who through his work does not commit himself to ideals. The artist has to believe in that image every day, and be faithful to it. That is, to himself.” Mikis Theodorakis he expressed it someday, and he all the time saved it. His unimaginable musical work – spanning a repertoire starting from classical music to Greek folklore, in a thousand compositions – paralleled his political dedication.
And though this diverse when it comes to the definition “partisan” (A satisfied communist, he additionally knew the right way to be a minister in a conservative authorities) He didn’t accomplish that when it comes to his idea, he all the time outlined himself within the possibility for the weakest, social justice and well-understood progressivism.
One thing that he introduced from a really younger age, when he joined the anti-fascist militancy and didn’t battle it solely from the stands however from motion: he was within the Greek resistance in opposition to the invasion of the troops of Mussolini and Hitler, which price him jail and torture. The identical factor occurred later with the fascists of his personal nation, the dictatorship of the colonels on the finish of the Nineteen Sixties, which despatched him to a focus camp, from which he was solely capable of depart as a result of worldwide stress.
Mikis Theodorakis conducts his orchestra in a rehearsal on the Herodium Atticon, on the steps of the Acropolis, in Athens, in Could 2001. Photograph EFE
Theodorakis composed operas, oratorios, symphonies, sonatas, movie music (amongst them the unforgettable Zorba, the Greek, Z and Serpico), music for theater and ballet. He drank in each Greek traditions and classical repertoire: Beethoven was his idol as a younger man and he says that, upon listening to The Ninth SymphonyHe felt that his personal future was additionally in music and composition.
For his versatility and universality, for his unimaginable life and for going via essentially the most excessive conditions -those prisons positioned him on the border of death-, but in addition for his dedication and recognition, Theodorakis nicely has a spot among the many biggest exponents of the world tradition of the final century.
The director Michael Cacoyannis, Theodorakis and Anthony Quinn, through the filming of the film “Zorba, the Greek”, in Greece, in 1964. Photograph EFE
The son of an official, he was born on July 29, 1925 on the Island of Chios. Attributable to his father’s work, he lived in quite a few provincial cities, though his formative stage befell in Tripolis. There, after that “light” that meant accessing Beethoven, he started his musical research and on the age of 17 he provided his first live performance, alongside along with his fellow college students.
However the occupation troops had already arrived, first Italians after which the German Nazis. Theodorakis joined the resistance, whereas composing his first tune: Captain Zacharias. It might develop into the anthem of that resistance. Detained by Mussolini’s forces, he was solely launched concerning the finish of World Struggle II.
There the Greek hardships didn’t finish, since monarchists and conservatives on the one hand, and communists on the opposite, fought a Civil Struggle. Theodorakis took half from the left (ELAS, Individuals’s Liberation Military) and this price him a brand new seclusion in a focus camp, on the Island of Maikronissos, the place he additionally composed his first symphony.
Mikis Theodorakis when he introduced his e book “Monologues in the Twilight”, portrayed in his house, in March 2017. Photograph EFE
When he regained his freedom, he was additionally capable of resume his musical research. He graduated from the Conservatory of Athens in 1954 and obtained a scholarship to check music evaluation and composition in Paris, below the steerage of Olivier Messiaen and Rene Leibonetz. It was additionally an intensely artistic interval, from which his ballet music is remembered. Antigona, new motion pictures and the Suite N ° 1 for piano and orchestra, which introduced him a gold medal on the Moscow Pageant.
Firstly of the ’60s, Theodorakis already loved nice status in his nation: he was appointed to musicalize texts by Yorgos Seferis and Odysseas Elytias (each Nobel Laureates), and composed for the Epitaphs, poems in tribute to the dying of a weaver. He additionally based the Symphony of Athens, with which he promoted the works of younger Greek composers and introduced music all through his nation.
He didn’t depart his political militancy – in 1964 he was elected to Parliament for the primary time by an alliance between socialists and communists – however that very same yr he composed certainly one of his main works, music for Zorba, the Greek. And along with his play The tune of the lifeless brother it tries what, lastly, was given as unimaginable: to deliver collectively the Greek political factions that had been dealing with one another for many years.
In July 1970, at age 44, when in New York he resigned as a delegate to the United Nations. AP Photograph
The 1967 coup d’état, which launched the dictatorship of the colonels, as soon as once more discovered Theodorakis in jail. And his music was banned. Collectively along with his spouse, and their youngsters Margarita and Yorgos, they had been despatched to a distant city within the Peloponnese and later to a focus camp in Oropos. He paid for it with the deterioration of his well being.
Even so, he didn’t cease composing – he despatched his works clandestinely – or selling the formation of a Patriotic Entrance to confront the dictatorship. It was worldwide stress that managed to drag him out of that scenario. The best cultural references of the time (Pierre Boulez, Stravinski, Zimmerman, Shostakovich, Harry Belafonte, Arthur Miller, amongst them) mobilized to realize their freedom, and Theodorakis was capable of depart for Paris.
Solely in 1974, when the army – worn out and surrounded – handed over energy to the conservative Karamanlis, Theodorakis was capable of return. Like what he was, a real nationwide hero, the city musician. A crowd got here to greet him on the Athens Airport.
June 27, 1968: Theodorakis is hugged by his youngsters, Margarita and Giorgios, after being launched from jail in Athens. AP Photograph
His live shows turned extra widespread, not so his work as a composer. Politics was catching him, but in addition recognitions. Unstoppable, he fashioned the Motion for Tradition and Peace, in 1976, and the convention Tradition and socialism on the island of Crete, the place Mitterrand spoke. The Soviet regime awarded him the Lenin Peace Prize, however he additionally obtained the very best distinction from america Senate.
He interceded for peace between Arabs and Israelis, fought in opposition to the proliferation of atomic weapons, denounced dictatorships around the globe. And on the identical time he provided live shows, or directed the Symphony Orchestra and Choir of the Greek radio, premiered Medea, he was musical director of the TV of his nation …
On his many sides and his overwhelming persona, he wrote: “Music is like a great source from which all other things come, in my case. Politics, like government, is the means for the people to feel free. I, for my part, feel free, especially in difficulties ”.
August 1974: Theodorakis talks with the singer Maria Farandouri, whereas they had been recording. AP Photograph
He returned to Parliament in two different phrases through the Eighties, though within the early Nineteen Nineties he distanced himself from the Greek Communists, accepting a spot within the cupboard of the conservative Constantino Mitsotakis.
His possibility for essentially the most humble, his pleas for peace and freedom, and his denunciations in opposition to corruption and State crimes had been everlasting. And when Greece was shaken by the disaster of the final decade, it appeared once more earlier than its folks in one of many demonstrations in opposition to the impositions of the IMF.
“I fought with arms in hand against the Nazi occupiers, I visited the dungeons of the Gestapo. I founded the Patriotic Front against the military junta. I fought in hiding. I was arrested and imprisoned … But here I am. It is likely that the day the salvation of my beloved homeland is no longer among you. But I will die with a clear conscience, because I will fulfill my duty to the end of the ideals of freedom and right, “he mentioned.
Theodorakis leaves a formidable legacy. Politically and culturally. His music is Greece in all its breadth – from traditions to modernity – and his militancy, of common worth.