CD review: Eleni Karaindrou

athensConcert In Athens
(ECM 476 4984)

Sunday is the day rest in thejazzbreakfast kitchen – the day of rest from jazz. And so this is a perfect day to seek refuge, enlightenment and peace in some of the most beautiful and gently atmospheric music of recent years.

Composer Eleni Karaindrou has devoted herself to writing predominantly for films and theatre, but if the music has usually been heard along with moving pictures, it still stands perfectly well on its own.

For this concert Karaindrou plays piano and shares her stage with the Camerata Orchestra, under the baton of Alexandros Myrat, and three special friends: Kim Kashkashian on viola, Jan Garbarek on tenor saxophone and Vangelis Christopoulos on oboe.

The concert – although you wouldn’t know it is a live recording, for there is little audience noise or response – begins and ends with Garbarek, Karaindrou and the orchestra playing Requiem For Willy Loman, which accompanied a production of Arthur Miller’s Death Of A Salesman.

The orchestra and soloists at the Concert In Athens.

The orchestra and soloists at the Concert In Athens.

In between are other theatrical works featured include music for Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie and Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf. And then, of course, there are excerpts from Karaindrou’s best known works: her music for the films of Theo Angelopoulos, who died in January 2012, including Ulysses’ Gate, The Beekeeper, Eternity And A Day and Voyage To Cythera.

The 2 minutes 10 seconds of Voyage, from that last named, seems to sum up, in its relatively simple, yet deeply moving, yearning string melody, the essence of Karaindrou’s special place in contemporary music. There is no one I can think of, aside from Arvo Part, who can have quite so profound on one’s mood.

This is a thoroughly enchanting album of music which invites you to stop, sit still and listen with your whole being. It’s well worth accepting the invitation.



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