Eleni Karaindrou Eternity and a Day (ECM)

National Records

Record Reviews

Eleni Karaindrou

Eternity and a Day (ECM)

The string orchestra, guided by violin, violoncello, and accordion, comes up slowly, deliberately -- ominously -- like mist cloaking a cold, winter afternoon. A lone violin saws through the ice, "Hearing the Time," the weighty theme that shrouds the soundtrack to Greek filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos' three-hour epic, Eternity and a Day. Then it clears, and composer Eleni Karaindrou, who also scored Angelopoulos' Ulysses' Gaze, executes a perfect, solo piano pirouette "By the Sea." Suddenly, a sweeping tidal waltz, the "Eternity Theme," sends you spinning around and around the gold marble floor of a Mediterranean palazzo; the oboe and bassoon singing deep to the French horn as a mandolin titters in the background. La Camerata String Orchestra of Athens, Greece, glides across the room with the satin grace of royalty. Then it's gone, "Hearing of Time" darkening the bright sky in an instant. Back and forth, push and pull, the opposing pair of themes -- whether stated solo on mandolin, or as a classical minuet -- engage in a Homeric struggle of heaven and earth. Manfred Eicher, owner, producer, and visionary of the 30-year-old ECM legacy, molds and shapes Karaindrou's elegaic compostions into the European classical and neo-classical landscapes for which the label's canon is renowned. Like the majority of ECM releases, its haunting elegance carries a great weight, as dense as Fabrizio Bentivoglio's bottomless voice startling you out of this 46-minute dream with a Greek poem. Eternity and a Day, the weight of time.

***

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