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Erotokritos


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#1 Wim

Wim

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Posted 11 March 2006 - 09:39 PM

The beautiful Cretan medieval poems on love have now been put on music by, Yiorgos Koumentakis, Loudovikos ton Anogeion, Nikos Xydakis and Psarantonis.

If you are into music, Crete and chicken skin than hurry up and get yourself this tremendous CD.

I copied this from the Athen News and is written by Maria Paravantes.


Erotokritos: A Medieval tale of love
MARIA PARAVANTES

'Erotokritos', the Cretan poem on the torments of love, has withstood the test of time, having for centuries represented all the virtues of the Greek character. Today, four Cretan musicians offer listeners their approach to a tale that has raised generations.

WHETHER in Shakespeare or Yeats, Aristotle or Sappho, the strains of love have always aroused inspiration in all those wounded by Eros' golden arrows. Erotokritos is one such tale of devotion written most likely during the 17th century by Cretan Vicenzos Cornaros. The 10,000-line epic poem in 15-syllable rhyming verse has for centuries been the voice of the Greek people. "Behind the 15-syllable expression of Erotokritos, there are thousands of people who tried to speak... and as many thousands who uttered sounds," Nobel laureate George Seferis has said of the work.

To this day the saga of love, which integrates influences from Greek mythology, the Renaissance and Cretan culture, speaks to the heart of the modern-day Greek, representing all those elements that have for hundreds of years moulded his spirit. Looking deep into their soul, four musicians come to dress Erotokritos with the sounds of their childhood dreams, adolescent desires and adult passions. Yiorgos Koumentakis, Loudovikos ton Anogeion, Nikos Xydakis and Psarantonis offer the music lover Erotokritos - Four Approaches to the Cretan Medieval Romance through the Lyra label.

First presented in July at Crete's Anogeia within the framework of the Yakintheia festival (dedicated to Agios Yakinthos, the patron saint of love), the hour-long CD accompanied by a well-written booklet (in Greek and good English), features singers Alkinoos Ioannidis, Lizeta Kalimeri and Niki Xylouri in stirring interpretations of the poem.

Erotokritos (or Cupid's favourite) and Aretousa (the virtuous one) fall in love but the girl's father, the king, will have none of it. To "heal" his daughter of all ill he sends her to prison and the love-stricken lad into exile. Verse after verse Cornaros uses poetic word to describe the feelings of loss, separation and longing. Unlike most tales of romance, Erotokritos has a fortunate ending when the two "more mature and wiser" re-unite for eternal happiness and "human values and virtues are restored", Athens University professor Giorgos Giatromanolakis explains in the sleeve notes.

And indeed, Erotokritos is perhaps the most far-reaching poem in Modern Greek literature, conveying the timelessness of the principles a culture holds dear.

Deeply lyrical, the tale unfolds with an instrumental motif (mostly to the sound of a lone violin) composed by Xydakis. Loudovikos' rippling lyricism comes to transport the listener to 17th-century Crete. Both composers (native Cretans themselves) have taken the traditional song of their homeland and dressed it up with sounds of the restless wind, the whispering rain and the rustling leaves as hints of Vivaldi's Spring welcome the blossoming love between Erotokritos and Aretousa.

Loudovikos follows with an arrangement of perhaps the mostly heard (and played) musical segment of the work. Most moving is "Afentopoulos tis Mytilenis" (The Master of Mytilene), where popular singer Alkinoos Ioannidis makes his silvery presence felt as Xydakis narrates: "The time has come for princes of the land to show their might in a duel, and those who win may they be praised as those who loose shall live in disgrace."

Ioannidis' is a voice to marvel at. Superb tonal accuracy, idiomatic sensitivity and piercing clarity make his song spine chilling.

Kalimeri (under Loudovikos' wing) also delivers a fine interpretation of a wondering Aretousa who wishes to know who serenades her, "lighting fires deep within". Kalimeri also sings of Aretousa's vow of eternal love.

The crude side of the Cretan character (and of all those Greeks who live in the remoteness of the rugged mountainside) is conveyed through the gruff voice of Psarantonis (Antonis Xylouris, brother of the great Nikos Xylouris). Together with his tempestuous lyre playing, Psarantonis' elemental passion, instinctive ability and rhythmic execution serve as unifying factors that bring out the spirituality and primitiveness of the haunting landscape.

The fourth and final approach to Erotokritos comes from Koumentakis, who composes inspired by the fauna of the Cretan countryside - which also spurred Cornaros to create his masterpiece. Koumentakis blends traditional Cretan music with Byzantine rhythmic heritage and sounds of the Mediterranean to produce three instrumental pieces for cemballo interpreted by soloist Alexandra Papastefanou.

Erotokritos - Four Approaches to the Cretan Medieval Romance is indeed an asset to any CD collection. Not only does it host the ebullient originality and distinctive musical language of its guests - four Cretan craftsmen - but it also proves that true art is ageless always serving as a source of inspiration for those who have the keen eye and appreciation. Furthermore, Erotokritos bears witness to the traits that have shaped the Greek character and "the fate of a nation. Always on the borderline of place and time, always preparing for a time of brilliance, always threatened by disaster", as Seferis poignantly points out.



ATHENS NEWS , 04/10/2000, page: A09
Article code: C12768A091


Erotokritos ("Tried by Love") is an adventurous love poem of 10.010 lines composed about four centuries ago, written by Vicentso Kornaros during Venetian rule and the pre-Ottoman burst that came to be known as "Cretan Renaissance".

These are the words of Master of Mytilene for our Greek speaking friends




AΦΕΝΤΟΠΟΥΛΟΣ ΤΗΣ MΥΤΙΛΗΝΗΣ
O πρώτος οπού μ' Aφεντιές ήρθε την ώρα εκείνη,
ήτονε τ' Aφεντόπουλον από τη Mυτιλήνη.
Eις ένα-ν άλογον ψαρόν πιτήδειος Kαβαλάρης,
όμορφος, αξαζόμενος, κ' ερωτοδιωματάρης.

Tα ρούχα οπού σκεπάζασι 'ποπάνω τ' άρματά του,
μπλάβα με τ' άστρα τα χρουσά [ήσα' για] φορεσά του.

K' εις τ' άρματα τση κεφαλής είχε σγουραφισμένο
ψηλό βουνί, κ' εις την κορφή λαφάκι δοξεμένο·
κ' εφαίνετό σου, εστρέφετο, τη σαϊτιάν εθώρει,
και να τη βγάλει εξάμωνε, κ' εκείνο δεν εμπόρει.
Στο Λάφι-ν αποκατωθιό ελέγαν τα γραμμένα·
"Δέτε, και λυπηθείτε με, εις τά'χω παθωμένα.
Ίδρωσα, κ' επαράδειρα, έτσι ψηλά να σώσω,
κι ως ήσωσα, ελαβώθηκα, στέκω να παραδώσω."

Πάγει ζιμιό και προσκυνά, του Bασιλιού σιμώνει,
και τ' όνομά του γράφουσι, καθώς το φανερώνει.
Δημοφάνης εκράζετο τ' αγένειο παλικάρι,
πολλά τον ετρομάσσασι εις τσ' αντρειάς τη χάρη,
πολλά τον ερεχτήκασι για τ' όμορφά του κάλλη.
Eσύρθηκε στον τόπον του, για να'ρθουσι κ' οι άλλοι.


True is that adage: "He who yields to rule by wooden heads, becomes himself a fool."