Remembering Manos Hadjidakis

In response to a question concerning the organization of an upcoming Manos Hadjidakis tribute by a non-profit sociopolitical institute that Ioannis Varvitsiotis, a member of the European Parliament for the conservative New Democracy Party, heads, the Greek politician remarked, «The field of politics must draw from culture so that it does not to lose its inspiration, power and, above all, humanitarian character.« Work by the late composer will be performed by the Manos Hadjidakis Music Ensemble, conducted by Loukas Karytinos, at the Athens Concert Hall on February 6. The singers Giorgos Marinos, Elli Paspala and Mario Frangoulis will lead the ensemble for the composer’s classic «Roman Agora.» The performance is being organized by the Constantine Karamanlis Institute for Democracy, which was founded in 1998 to examine social, political and economic issues, and named after the late political leader who shared a friendship with Hadjidakis. Public interventions made by the composer were usually prompted by political concerns, or, more specifically, the abuse of power by political figures. Hadjidakis formed amicable ties with Karamanlis. «He was the only Greek politician who offered me confidence and ease about my Greek descent. I consider him a close friend. He taught me the technique of pride,» the late composer had said about Karamanlis, whose political maneuvering is widely credited for having led Greece into the European Union, or the EEC, as the common market was known in 1981 when the nation was offered full membership. The friendship between Karamanlis and Hadjidakis began back in 1959 and lasted their lifetimes, noted Giorgos Hadjidakis, the late composer’s son, at a news conference ahead of next week’s concert. They were linked by mutual respect, he added. «This made it possible for them to disagree. They disagreed frequently, mostly on a political level,» said Hadjidakis. Karytinos, the conductor, focused more on Hadjidakis’s artistic side at the press briefing. «He always functioned like a pure, absolute musician. He knew he had to deduct, to throw away and keep only what was really necessary,» said Karytinos. «He didn’t allow his talent and passion to carry him away.»