Mikis Theodorakis Composed Some Of The Most Beautiful Musical Pieces On The Holocaust

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Mikis Theodorakis Composed Some Of The Most Beautiful Musical Pieces On The Holocaust

The Greek composer, Mikis Theodorakis who died aged 96, has written some of the most beautiful musical pieces dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust.


His 'Mauthausen Trilogy', also known as, 'The Ballad of Mauthausen' is a cycle of four arias whose lyrics derive from the poems of Iakovos Kambanellis, a Greek survivor of the Mauthausen concentration camp. Inspired by the events that took place at the Mauthausen concentration camp, the Mauthausen Cycle is one of the best known compositions which has been used to promote worldwide peace.


The ballad draws upon Kambanellis' own experience at the concentration camp and also reflects on his love for a Lithuanian-Jewish woman. The lyrics describe a love affair that existed between a young Greek prisoner and Lithuanian woman at the concentration camp, amidst the atrocities they experienced during their time there.


A music critic writing for the Baltimore Sun, says of the ballad:


"Theodorakis had the genius to set this poem with melodic elements from the hymn for Palm Sunday of the Orthodox Church, creating an exquisite, haunting and passionate melody that moves Kambanellis' affecting words to an even higher level."


In his book, 'The Undying Flame: Ballads and Songs of the Holocaust', Jerry Silverman writes:


"We can be (similarly) enthralled by the passionate lyrics and haunting melody of "Asma Asmaton"" and "(Kambanellis) also wote a cycle of four poems based on episodes in his book, which were lovingly set to music by Mikis Theodorakis".


Silverman also called Asma Asmaton "extraordinarily moving".



In her book 'Mended by the Muse: Creative Transformations of Trauma', Sophia Richman, writes:


"The song cycle is a requiem for Holocaust victims and raised the consciousness of all Greeks. Its sublime melodic lines, extended harmonies and rhythms, forced listeners to ask, 'What happened to our Jews?'"


Richman says that Thodorakis "created songs that have entered the pantheon of acclaimed song cycles."


One year following the release of the ballad, Theodorakis was imprisoned in Greece by the recently installed Greek military junta and his music was banned in the country.


Since then, the song was performed in Hebrew by Joan Baez and other Israeli artists.




[h/t: Greek Reporter]


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Thinking Humanity: Mikis Theodorakis Composed Some Of The Most Beautiful Musical Pieces On The Holocaust
Mikis Theodorakis Composed Some Of The Most Beautiful Musical Pieces On The Holocaust
The Greek composer, Mikis Theodorakis who died aged 96, has written some of the most beautiful musical pieces dedicated to the victoms of the Holocaus
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