01 Fake on the brain?
What is actually going on in this world? In a time when people can hardly separate facts from fake news, confusion is deliberately provoked. In a secularised world; there are no longer any valid truths. Religions, which were able to convey the aspect of the true and reliable in the past, are now so debased until they have locked themselves into the prison of absurdity.
What remains for the thinking and striving human being to do? Perhaps everyone can find clues for himself that he can believe to be true. Under certain circumstances, he stands alone in this, without the approval of others.
What is happening to values?
Culture is at the bottom of the value pyramid at this time. Musicians who have studied and worked with their instruments for years, for many hours every day, are given very little consideration in society. This is due to mis-education and what is considered high culture. Since time immemorial, some countries have prided themselves on their great music. High culture has nothing to do with elitist remnants of the past. High culture is the highest and greatest effort to keep the meaning of human existence alive.
Great music, which can be classified as high culture, is created in spiritual-soul spaces. It is received by composers and made available to humanity. Musicians can enter into these spiritual spaces and touch and work with what is true and substantial. Listeners are also able to enter these free spaces and receive impressions from the cosmic-spiritual primordial ground. High culture is perhaps one of the last sources of unadulterated truth. We should not let it perish lightly.
A well-known cellist put it like this: “Bach understands me!”
Unadulterated truth begins in the small things, in the individual. The German poet Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach once wrote this little poem:
A little song, how can it be,
that one can be so fond of it?
What lies in it, tell me!
There is a little sound in it
A little melody and tune
And an entire soul.
Man sings, moves, plays instruments to make the moods within him audible to the outside world. He communicates feelings of joy, sadness, happiness, longing, and also anger and rage. His body is or becomes an instrument. Others rejoice or suffer from him. Man is an artist, a work of art. Voice, posture, facial expression, the flow of energy express the inner self and communicate what makes a person. They also communicate his nature, his experiences, his wishes, his thoughts, his destiny, what has shaped him and made him what he is.
People are not only made up of bodies, feelings and thoughts, they are, above all, souls that long for something higher and, thereby, refine their vibrations. They find soul fields and spirit fields in the cosmos with which they connect. Here, impressions are received and many possess the capability to make audible what is given to them. They create a spiritual-soul substance and give what they have received to the people of this world. I shall illustrate this individual process of creation through the example of three great composers, each of whom had his own very special signature.
02 Red Roses from Athens
Mikis Theodorakis died in Athens on September 2, 2021 at the age of 96. Legend has it that as a child on a Cretan island, Mikis excitedly reported to his father, “I heard music by a certain Ludwig van Beethoven.” The father replied, “There is only one Ludwig van Beethoven.” Mikis said, “No, there are now two; I’m going to be a composer!” And he became a composer! He also became an emigrant, a resistance fighter, a politician, an author, a poet, a politically persecuted person and a prisoner.
Mikis Theodorakis fought against fascism, the German Nazis, the dictatorship in Greece, the colonels. He was arrested again and again, and spent parts of his life in prisons and political penitentiaries on the prison island of Makronissos off the coast beyond the temple of Cape Sunion. He was beaten, tortured, even buried alive. A torturer once pulled him out of the dirt by the hair and shouted at him, “Recant at last, sign, or we’ll beat you to death.” He said, “I can’t because I’m a Cretan.” His music was banned for years, his songs were not allowed to be sung in Greece. Mikis Theodorakis composed against all resistance and against his own inner disruption. Dmitri Shostakovich and Leonard Bernstein campaigned for him internationally so that he could go into exile in Paris and survive.
He left to the world choral works, symphonies, operas, film music, chamber music and innumerable songs, also a requiem and a liturgy for the children killed in the war. He combined Greek literature with his compositions and created a magnificent classical cosmos, high culture for everyone, and the Greeks adopted his music as their own. Something like a cultural rebirth happened and the Greeks love him immensely. The bouzouki, the national instrument of Greece with its typical plaintive sound, appears again and again in Theodorakis’ music.
After a few years in Paris, homesickness drove him back to Greece. Tens of thousands celebrated Mikis Theodorakis’ return and sang his songs in tears.
The Sirtaki is not an old Greek dance. No, Mikis Theodorakis invented it for his film music Alexis Zorba. This is music that represents Greece like hardly any other. His songs became Greek folk songs. They are still on everyone’s lips today. With his music, a new Greek soul was born. His life’s struggle for education, for culture and reconciliation with Turkey, as well as against any dictatorial tyranny and against drug use, has been worthwhile. A book of poems by Mikis Theodorakis is entitled: In the Paradisiacal Gardens of My Skull.
After his death, Greece honoured him with a three-day state mourning.