The state must ensure the intellectual production of Cyprus, so that it is not lost, says the distinguished composer Michalis Christodoulidis in an interview with KYPE.< /b>
Answering a question about whether any of his works stand out, given that he has composed theater and film works, as well as Cypriot poetry, Michalis Christodoulidis tells KYPE that a composer loves all his works and must treat them all with the same seriousness and care. “Many times the audience and not the artist determines what is important,” he points out, stressing that it is difficult for him to determine which of his works is more important than others.
However, he notes that the songs he has written about Cyprus are important to him, stressing that Cyprus is his place. “Everything I have done I want to believe enriches the tradition and the need of Cyprus for culture”, he underlines. Referring to the Cypriot love poems he has set to music, Mr. Christodoulidis points out that these are the first sonnets written in Greek. He characterizes them as “masterpieces of poetry” that refer to absolute and boundless love, adding that their unknown creator, who lived in the 16th century, is influenced by Petrarch.
Answering a question about the motivation of his involvement in setting Cypriot love folk poetry to music, Mr. Christodoulidis tells KYPE that, after 1974, he felt that Cyprus was in danger and that its culture was in danger of disappearing. “It is not only the invasion and the occupation, but also the alteration of the cultural heritage of Cyprus”, he emphasizes, adding that he had to write things in order to save the locality, the character, the soul of Cyprus, which was in danger of being altered.
“My engagement with Cypriot poetry did not have the character of a challenge at all. Since no one else had dealt with the uncritical songs, I felt that I had to bring them to the surface so that people would deal with them and learn that they are also his creation”, explains the composer, mentioning that “Triantaphylleni”, which composed by himself, belongs to the critical circle.
Asked if he would be interested in setting contemporary Greek and Cypriot poets to music, Michalis Christodoulidis reports to KYPE that he has set verses by Michalis Ganas to music, following “persistent pressure” – as he says – from George Dalaras, with whom he did three recording jobs (” Es gein enalian Cyprus”, “Of the Immortals”, “The Running Asphalt”). As he states, “I never hunted down other singers to give them songs,” noting that singers are “a different world” and that one has to acclimatize to that space to create songs and work with these people.
Describing the environment in which music is produced today, given the collapse of the record label and the dominance of the internet, Mr. Christodoulidis clarifies that he would discuss a collaboration if he knew it would happen. “I'm a poor artist, I haven't been able to make enough money, even though I'm quite well-known in Greece and Cyprus,” he adds.
Asked if he singles out any composers in the contemporary song in Greece and Cyprus, Michalis Christodoulidis mentions that he likes older composers of folk and rebetika songs, such as Akis Panou and Vassilis Tsitsanis, whom he characterizes as amazing composers. Among the younger composers, Mr. Christodoulidis mentions Lavrentis Mahairitsa, Stamatis Kraunakis, Evagoras Karageorgis and Costas Kakogiannis.
Referring to his future plans, the acclaimed composer tells KYPE that he has classical works that he wants to come out of the drawers and be performed. Among other things, he mentions that he has written an oratorio about Famagusta, which he would like to record, a cantada about wine, in which he used verses from antiquity, as well as excerpts from the ballets he had done in America. He also points out that he has written music on behalf of THOK for 16 of the 20 extant ancient Greek tragedies. “Some of these chorales are worth playing again,” he points out, citing as an example the music he wrote for Euripides' Helen.
“I would like the Deputy Ministry of Culture to deal with these issues and not constantly deal with what is shown in the media,” states Michalis Christodoulidis, indicating that the Deputy Ministry of Culture and the state in general must ensure not only the Museum, the archaeological findings and the tradition, but also the intellectual production of Cyprus in some way so that it is not lost, so that it is mentioned by the next generations. Referring to “Triantafylleni”, Mr. Christodoulidis tells KYPE that people consider it a folk song, have accepted it and integrated it into their tradition, forgetting that he composed it himself. “The musical works that have been produced for Cyprus must not disappear”, he emphasizes, citing as another example the composition of “July 9, 1821” by Vassilis Michaelides, which was presented at the Herodeion, in Athens, and recorded on a disc by private initiative .
Referring to the two concerts he is organizing in Cyprus, Michalis Christodoulidis notes that they are about the Cypriot dialect and include the Akrit epics and a new epic about the Cypriot version of “Dead Brother's Song”. Also, songs written by Michalis Passiardi and Eurydiki Papadopoulou will be heard, as well as Cypriot love poetry. During the concerts, shadow theater scenes will be shown with figures by scenographer Andis Partzilis, he concludes.
It should be noted that the concerts of Michalis Christodoulidis, which are organized by AKEL , will take place on February 13 and 15 in Nicosia (as part of the Nicosia Festival) and Limassol respectively.