Film and orchestral music composer Eleni Karaindrou has made a beautiful and moving statement with THE WEEPING MEADOW. A native of Greece, Karaindrou's influences are decidedly European, and within the music, one can hear the stamp of impressionistic composers like Erik Satie, avant garde innovators like Bartok, as well as Greek and Balkan folk forms. Karaindrou's music also traffics in 20th-century minimalism, creating tense, atmospheric spaces that feel empty and dense at once (one of the composer's frequently used motifs involves "patterns" that recall the tingling, polyphonic gestures of Phillip Glass). Although several themes are reprised throughout the album, the combination of ambient textures, folk phrasing (accordions, guitars, and violins figure prominently into several pieces), and lush orchestral work keep the music consistently interesting. The pieces are often set in a minor key, so a somber, melancholic mood prevails yet never feels forced or melodramatic, and the spacious, tasteful arrangements are in keeping with the ECM aesthetic.
Based on the autobiographical novel by Nicholas Gage, Eleni traces Gage's search for the truth behind the execution of his Greek mother Eleni. John Malkovich plays Gage (herein referred to only as Nick), a New York Times journalist assigned to cover a border war in Albania. Intimately familiar with his beat–it's where he grew up–Nick periodically flashes back to his childhood, and his memories of his late mother Eleni (Kate Nelligan). Not at all concerned with politics, Eleni goes to extreme lengths to shelter her children from the ravages of civil unrest. For attempting to smuggle her kids out of the country, Eleni is arrested and executed. Back in the present, Nick manages to locate local politico Katis (Oliver Cotton), the man who signed Eleni's death warrant. He wangles his way into Katis' confidence, then prepares to kill the man–but he's in for a surprise, and something of an epiphany.
These recordings which were assembled to keep alive the memory of unique moments and meetings, are those prime compositions that were written in a state of excitement, with the passion and innocence of first look. Eleni Karaindrou / From the liner notes: Music lovers of Eleni Karaindrou have every reason to rejoice. More than 3 hours of music, written for 22 plays, directed by Antonis Antypas (1986-2010) moved to a historical version - documentary on the Mikri Arktos, a 3 CD to accompany an elegant book, enriched with photographs of performances, reviews and information on the recordings. The cooperation of Eleni Karaindrou director and partner Anthony Antipa began in 1986 when he suggested she composed music for "Victory" by Loula Anagnostakis.
The stage cantata David features Eleni Karaindrou’s music for a unique piece of Aegean drama, a verse play with words by an unknown 18th century poet from the island of Chios. Its text (first published only in 1979), invites a musical response and Greek composer Karaindrou rises splendidly to the challenge, imaginatively moving between past and present in her settings for mezzo-soprano and baritone singers, instrumental soloists, choir and orchestra.
Eleni Karaindrou’s collaborations with stage director Antonis Antypas have generated some of her most powerful music. Medea, like the earlier Trojan Women, comes out of this association. Recorded at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, the music vibrates with emotional intensity. Karaindrou gives her themes to a small ensemble, its sound-colours creating an ambiance both archaic and contemporary, as textures of santouri, ney, lyra and clarinets are combined and contrasted.
Film composer Eleni Karaindou was born in the Greek mountain village of Teichio and raised in Athens, going on to study piano and music theory at the Hellenikon Odion. Relocating to Paris in 1969, she studied ethnomusicology for five years before returning to Greece to found the Laboratory for Traditional Instruments at the ORA Cultural Centre. Karaindrou's most successful collaboration was with filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos, with whom she first teamed in 1982, going on to score features including 1991's The Suspended Step of the Stork, 1995's Ulysses' Gaze and 1998's Palme d'Or-winning Eternity and a Day. Although primarily aligned with the Greek film industry, Karaindrou also worked with noted European directors including Jules Dassin and the great Chris Marker.