Elegy Of The Uprooting

Eleni Karaindrou

ECM, 2006


REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


I think the greatest joy I get out of writing for the Daily Vault is that I get to experience CDs I might otherwise have completely missed. I would have never heard of the work of Greek composer Eleni Karaindrou, and I would have missed out on a transcendent, elegant experience. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Elegy Of The Uprooting, a live recording of her music performed by a hundred or so of her closest friends is simply incredible.

Karaindrou is best known for composing music for Greek director Theodoros Angelopoulos, who has won multiple awards in Europe, including the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Angelopoulos is known for his slow, thoughtful pacing -- pacing that, while I have not seen his films (I do intend to change that) seems to match Karaindrou's music perfectly. And make no mistake -- Karaindrou's music is very close to perfect.

In terms of production and engineering, Elegy of the Uprooting is tight, clean and neat. The sound of the Camerata Orchestra, the Traditional Instruments Ensemble (who play traditional Greek and Balkan instruments) and the Hellenic Radio/Television Choir is crisp, full and magnificent. Vocalist Maria Farantouri (a legend in Greek music) provides an exhilarating vocal counterpoint. 

The music is heartrending and wonderful. Karaindrou put this project together after realizing a great deal of her work for both Angelopoulos and lyricist K.X. Myris had a common theme; after doing music for Angelopoulos' The Weeping Meadow and Myris' Trojan Women, she discovered the music was about home -- longing for home, losing one's home, going out in the world and never going home again. In Elegy For The Uprooting I can hear, feel, even touch that sorrow, that loss, and that bitter pride, and it's pure genius.

I had never heard of Eleni Karaindrou before, but she has touched me in a way few musicians ever have. Elegy For The Uprooting is one of the greatest pieces of music I have ever heard.

Rating: A

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