CULTURE

Two great Greek artists’ tribute to Cavafy’s poetry on new CD

There’s plenty to read and hear in «Yiannis Tsarouchis Reads Cavafy at the Home of Andreas Embeirikos,» the book-and-CD release published by Agra, which was recently presented at the Benaki Museum. The story behind this project dates back to February 1972 when the artist Tsarouchis, on a visit to Greece from Paris, asked his friend and poet Embeirikos to record him reciting poetry by Cavafy, their favorite poet. Tsarouchis had a penchant for reciting poetry to friends from as far back as the ’50s. Embeirikos, always keen to document special moments through either photography or recording, had suggested that some of these recordings be passed on to others through release. «Yiannis Tsarouchis Reads Cavafy at the Home of Andreas Embeirikos» is at once deeply emotional and playful. Besides the CD, it also includes writings by Tsarouchis on Embeirikos and vice versa. Also included are the thoughts of others on the relationship bonding Tsarouchis and Embeirikos, as well as commentaries on their era. «It is difficult, if not impossible, to determine precisely where a poet’s charm lies. Certainly not in form, which is surpassed immediately with the first case of imitation, or as time elapses. Poetry will always be something that goes beyond. The form of Cavafy’s poetry may have everything going against it. However, you always recall a poem [of his] and want to read it again, always expecting to find more than it contains,» writes Tsarouchis. Besides presenting poetry by Cavafy, this book and CD also shed light on both the work and personalities of Tsarouchis and Embeirikos. Much is revealed through their respective descriptions of each other, including thoughts on artistic approach. The love and tenderness of their relationship is inherent in the writing. «… Tsarouchis is an artist who could not only be considered unique in this country, but one of the few Greeks able to present talent of such intensity, quality, and originality; a person whom we should certainly have ranked, long ago, among the leading artists that offer brilliant light to art’s international platform…» Embeirikos writes on Tsarouchis. «Andreas Embeirikos’s great worth does not pertain to the fact that he was a surrealist, but to the meaning he offered to surrealism… Andreas Embeirikos is one of those individuals who create new values when older ones no longer serve their original purpose,» comments Tsarouchis in his depiction of his friend.