Cavafy’s poetry still an inspiration for Greek artists

Without a doubt the most translated Greek poet, Constantine P. Cavafy’s writing also tops the list of most musical adaptations. Research by musicologist Giorgos Monemvasitis indicates that 160 compositions by Greek artists have been inspired by and written about Cavafy’s poetry. The late composer-conductor Dimitris Mitropoulos was the first to set work by the Alexandrine poet to music. Others that followed include Mikis Theodorakis, Manos Hadjidakis, Dimos Moutsis and Dimitris Papadimitriou. Thanos Mikroutsikos, who has just released «Thanos Mikroutsikos’s Cavafy,» is the latest to join this growing list. Just days ago at a launch in Athens, the composer presented music he has written for 10 Cavafy poems. The carefully prepared release, on the Ianos label, is not just a CD, but also includes text by Monemvasitis, as well as seven portraits of the poet by Yiannis Psychopedis. Mikroutsikos, at the project’s presentation, said he hoped this project would prompt a new series of works that combine poetry and music. No stranger to working with poetry, Mikroutsikos has also offered musical renditions on the work of poets such as Vladimir Mayakovsky, Manolis Anagnostakis, George Seferis, Yiannis Ritsos, Christoforos Liontakis and Nikos Kavvadias. «To be able to interpret Cavafy musically is a huge accomplishment,» noted Odysseas Ioannou, director at the Greek music-focused radio station Melodia 99.2 FM. The radio station’s signature melody was written by Mikroutsikos based on Cavafy’s poem «Epestrefe,» Ioannou reminded us.

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