CULTURE

Three new CDs throw light on Hadjidakis’s early works

The New Year’s arrival marks the 10th anniversary since the death of Manos Hadjidakis, a commemorative year during which plenty of initiatives have been planned to honor the major composer, including productions for the Cultural Olympiad’s final months. The Theatro Technis has already launched a production featuring music written by Hadjidakis for plays staged at the venue by its founder, the late Karolos Koun. Moreover, seven of the composer’s early works have been rereleased on three CDs, while the sixth edition of «Ta Scholia Tou Tritou,» a publication which comprises commentary written and delivered by Hadjidakis on state radio’s Third Program in the late 1970s, has been launched. The three CD releases contain works composed by Hadjidakis during his career’s embryonic years, between 1944 and 1959, or from the ages of 19 to 34. The period ranks as one of the composer’s most interesting. Hadjidakis produced innovative work that helped shape Greek music in the decades that followed. These releases also shed light on Hadjidakis’s fruitful collaborations with two of the country’s most significant artistic institutions of postwar Greece, the director Koun’s Theatro Technis and choreographer Rallou Manou’s Elliniko Horodrama. The theater and dance company drew various other leading artistic figures into collaboration, among them the painters Yiannis Moralis, Nikos Hadzikyriakos-Ghika and Yiannis Tsarouchis, the poets Odysseus Elytis and Nikos Gatsos, and composer Argyris Kounadis. The first of the three CDs, titled «Mousiki yia to Elliniko Horodrama,» contains three works that resulted from the collaboration between Hadjidakis and choreographer Manou. The three projects, «Exi Laikes Zografies,» «To Katarameno Fidi» and «Erimia» – the first two dating back to 1949-50 and the third to 1958 – established Manou in her field and also proved daringly innovative for the country’s music and choreography domains. It is particularly important to note that these new CD releases (by Universal) feature the original versions, with Hadjidakis on piano. All three were originally released as EPs, beginning with «Fidi,» featuring Giorgos Moutsios on vocals in 1958, «Zografies» in 1959, and «Erimia» in 1960. Three years later the three projects, as well as a fourth, «Caucasian Chalk Circle,» were all packaged together for one of the country’s first-ever LP releases, titled «Manos Hadjidakis Plays Hadjidakis.» This black-covered album went on to become a rarity for collectors. A revised version of it was released in 1985. Its title was maintained, but the cover was changed, and «Zografies» was replaced with «CNS Cycle.» The latest CD release is digitally remastered. The second of the three Hadjidakis releases, titled «Music for Theatro Technis,» includes two of Hadjidakis’s many – and monumental – compositions penned during his long-running collaboration with Koun, which began in 1944 and continued until 1960. This CD includes the original version of Hadjidakis’s score for the play «The Birds,» before he reworked it into a cantata. It also contains his «Caucasian Chalk Circle» music based on the Bertolt Brecht play, which was translated by Elytis. It features Moutsios on vocals, as does «The Birds,» for which the singer is accompanied by Theatro Technis cast members. Both «Caucasian Chalk Circle» and «The Birds» are the composer’s original versions that had first been released as EPs, in 1959 and 1960 respectively. The third CD release contains two more significant works dating back to early-period Hadjidakis, «Yia Mia Mikri Lefki Achivada,» and «CNS Cycle,» again in their original versions. The first, composed in 1947, went on to become Hadjidakis’s debut release. It was recorded in 1954 by the Phillips Holland label with Yiannis Papadopoulos on piano. The superb «CNS Cycle,» whose lyrics were penned by Hadjidakis himself, was first recorded in 1959, once again with Moutsios on vocals, accompanied by Hadjidakis on piano. The work’s original EP was not rereleased until 1985, on the vinyl format, and is now available on CD for the first time. As for the book release, among the many 10-year anniversary initiatives, «Ta Scholia Tou Tritou» (Commentary on the Third) features 36 commentaries written and delivered by Hadjidakis on state radio ERT’s Third Program between 1978 and 1980, while he was the station’s director. The composer’s thoughts had prompted much debate and discussion. The title’s latest launch is the sixth edition, but this latest batch goes a step further. The new edition includes a CD featuring Hadjidakis reading three of his most monumental commentaries, «To Prosopo Tou Teratos ki o Fovos Mipos to Synithisoume,» «O Laheiopolis t’Ouranou,» and «Otan Eleftherothoume apo ti Dynasteia ton Technon kai apo ti Dystichia ton Kallitechnon.»