Lena Platonos presents and sets to music Emily Dickinson and Kostas Karyotakis / ONASSIS CULTURAL CENTRE

Lena Platonos presents and sets to music Emily Dickinson and Kostas Karyotakis

5 Jun 2015
Main Stage
Emily Dickinson and Kostas Karyotakis at a unique concert by Lena Platonos.
15 - 18 - 28 €
Concs 10 -12 - 15 € | Unemployed 5 €
A one-off concert with Lena Platonos, one of Greece's most important composers, featuring the premiere of an English-language song cycle entitled Hope is the Thing with Feathers, a musical setting of poetry by Emily Dickinson. The second half of the concert will feature Karyotakis - 13 songs, one of Lena Platonos' best-loved works.

"The very first songs I wrote, back when I was studying piano in Vienna, were settings of English verses written by an English friend of mine. In terms of my ability to craft songs, it was a great experience. Those songs are lost, but I’ve never forgotten how free and happy I felt when I was writing them. For a few years now, I’ve felt impelled to repeat the experience and the end result are these English verses which I wrote and set to music.

That said, my first encounter with the great American poet Emily Dickinson had a great and lasting impact on me. So much so, in fact, that I decided to take a risk and set some poetry of hers to music; poetry -and herein lies the risk- that’s incredibly musical in its own right. Dickinson’s poetry could have been written yesterday, not the century before last, and in circumstances so totally at odds with her writing. What I mean is that although Dickinson was confined to her home by "nervous prostration", she comes across in her writing as someone profoundly in touch with her outer and inner reality. She was so amazingly sensitive to the great issues of human existence, meaning Love and Death, Eros and Thanatos, subjects to which the bulk of her work is devoted. I chose ten of her poems, most of them love poems, and set them to music over a year or so in songs for two female voices.

My involvement with Kostas Karyotakis started when Manos Hadjidakis asked me to set some of his works to music for a poetry broadcast they were preparing on Greek State Radio (ERT Three). I turned down the proposal initially; overawed by Karyotakis’ poetic greatness, I offered to write some incidental music instead, without words, which would provide a suitable accompaniment for the poems being read. Hadjidakis accepted. Then, one night, when I had my Karyotakis anthology open at the piano, my gaze was irresistibly drawn to one of his poems which I set to music there and then and wept. So in the end, the programme did feature songs I’d written, and they caused something of a stir at ERT, but even more so in my heart, in which I could already "hear" Savina singing them. Manos Hadjidakis liked the songs a lot and Lyra would later release them on an album with Alekos Patsifas." -Lena Platonos


Part 1
Hope is the thing with feathers
Poetry: Emily Dickinson
Music: Lena Platonos
Arrangement: Lena Platonos, Stergios Tsirliagos
Vocals: Athina Routsi, Sissi Rada
Readings: Karyofyllia Karabeti

Part 2
Karyotakis - 13 songs
Poetry: Kostas Karyotakis
Music: Lena Platonos
Arrangement: Thodoros Kopepanos
Song: Savina Yannatou
Vocals: Athina Routsi, Sissi Rada


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