Markopoulos celebrates the revolution

Yiannis Markopoulos, a prolific Cretan composer who has penned the scores of films such as Nikos Koundouros’s Young Aphrodites and Jules Dassin’s The Rehearsal and A Dream of Passion, as well as the more recent orchestral Reflections and the opera Erotokritos, has been invited by the Athens Concert Hall to perform his Free Besieged on October 28 and 30 Markopoulos’s works show the common influences of a classical musical education in combination with a deep admiration for the folk traditions of his homeland. Ever since he was a young man, he has been influenced by the work of Greek composers such as Skalkottas and Constantinidis as equally as he was by Bartok’s ethnic recordings, Stravinsky, Prokofiev or the Italian baroque composers. In many ways, Markopoulos was the first Greek composer to promote the concept of getting back to the roots in the 1970s. He was also the first to combine symphonic music and orchestra with traditional Greek instruments, as well as to feature relatively unknown singers in his live performances and recordings. Free Besieged is part of a folk liturgy written by Markopoulos in 1973, based on the poetry of Dionysis Solomos and celebrating the 1821 Greek Revolution. It follows a narrative form with an introduction, main part and conclusion, with excerpts from Solomos’s poem, read at the Athens Concert Hall by Maria Skountzou – a National Theater teacher and actress who has extensive experience in ancient tragedy and classical repertory plays. The lyrics are heroic, written by Solomos to celebrate the fighting spirit of the Greek people, the force of nature and human dignity, while the music and songs follow an equally grandiose pattern, featuring an impressive lineup of performers. Singers Costas Makedonas, Manolis Hatzimanolis, Irene Karayianni and Costis Constandaras, will join the Fon Musicalis Choir, the PPC Choir and the Aris Choir from Limassol, Cyprus in the concert. The Concert Hall found its way gradually. Don’t you find this a normal outcome in a country which prior to 1990 didn’t have a single hall with satisfactory acoustics? The truth is that the initial concept was based solely round the concert halls. But there was also a need to educate a public which was largely ignorant of the great landmarks of international music, whether contemporary or classical. This dictated broadening the programming to include other stage productions, exhibitions, dance productions and other events.

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