CULTURE

Final touches to Karaindrou CD

Composer Eleni Karaindrou, whose meticulous body of work, much of it for the films of the internationally renowned film director Theo Angelopoulos, has earned her acclaim throughout Europe, is currently finalizing a new album, Trojan Women, which is scheduled for release in mid-February. The album, whose material Karaindrou had originally composed for a staging of Euripides’ Trojan Women by the stage director Antonis Antypas last summer, will be released on the renowned German label ECM, the composer’s fifth in succession for the prestigious Munich-based record company. Its founder, Manfred Eicher, who has played a fundamental role in guiding its artistic direction by implementing a policy of rigorous quality control and giving scant regard for conventional notions of commercialism, recently spent several days in Athens to oversee the completion of Karaindrou’s latest project. Eicher, a graduate of the Berlin Academy of Music, has produced most of ECM’s recordings since the label’s launch in the late 1960s. His experiences as a musician, playing both jazz and classical music prior to ECM’s establishment 32 years ago, helped Eicher lay the groundwork for areas he has been exploring as a producer and company director. Equally passionate for film as an artistic vehicle as he is for music, Eicher, who has developed close ties with several film directors, co-directed his first feature film, Holozan, in 1992. It is based on a novella by Max Frisch, Man in The Holocene, which won a special jury prize at the Locarno Film Festival. With such interests, Eicher was bound, sooner or later, to become acquainted with Karaindrou’s music for films. Karaindrou, who has focused much of her compositional activity on film and theater, has written music for over 30 theatrical productions and some 18 films, many of these directed by Theo Angelopoulos, whose enduring collaboration with Karaindrou dates back to 1982. As composer of the soundtracks that have accompanied many of the film director’s atmospheric, symbolic films, including Eternity and a Day (which took first prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1998), Karaindrou has played an integral part in their overall effect. Karaindrou had studied history and archaeology before pursuing a musical education, beginning with piano and theory at the national conservatory in Athens followed by ethnomusicology in Paris. One of many high-caliber artists on ECM’s roster, Karaindrou’s label-mates include important jazz figures such as the Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek, with whom she has collaborated, the legendary pianist Keith Jarrett (who incidentally has been receiving treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin, Herbie Hancock, and too many others to mention. During its early phase, the label provided a home for important jazz artists when the music industry was devoting most of its attention to rock. Beyond jazz, ECM’s repertoire has stretched out to embrace the world’s indigenous musical traditions, including Indian raga, Pakistani vocal music, African drumming, and Korean ritual music, long before the term World Music became a slogan. Since the mid-1970s, ECM has averaged more than 20 recordings annually. DRY CARGO