Eleni Karaindrou: τό 10

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Eleni Karaindrou
τό 10

Music for the TV series based on the homonymous novel by M. Karagatsi
Directed by Pigi Dimitrakopoulou

Spiros Goumas bouzouki, baglamas, mandolin
Kyriakos Gouventas violin
Dinos Hadjiiordanou accordion
Thomas Konstantinou guitar, mandolin
Mimis Doutsoulis contrabass
Vangelis Christopoulos oboe
Nikos Ginos clarinet
Stella Gadedi flute
Maria Bildea harp
Sergiou Nastaza violin
Eleni Karaindrou piano, keyboards
Recorded September 2007 at Studio Sierra
Engineer: Giorgos Kariotis
Mastering: Petros Siakavellas
Produced by Eleni Karaindrou

This soundtrack by Greek composer Eleni Karaindrou was released in 2008 on the Mikri Arktos label in cooperation with ECM. Containing music from the television series The 10, itself based on the last (unfinished) novel of M. Karagatsis, it is something every admirer of Karaindrou’s music will want to track down. Set in the 1950s, the show centers around a block of apartments and the many exploits of its wealthy landlord, whose nephew has designs to inherit it all. In a satirical and soap-ish fashion, its many colorful characters come out of the woodwork, each with their own dramas to add to the mix.

This collection of quintessential melodies scintillates with the contributions of some of Greece’s finest musicians, including oboist Vangelis Christopoulos (Karaindrou’s go-to interpreter), accordionist Dinos Hadjiiordanou (last heard by ECM followers on Tous des oiseaux), harpist Maria Bildea (see Dust of Time and The Weeping Meadow, among others), violinist Kyriakos Gouventas (who appears regularly alongside Savina Yannatou as part of Primavera en Salonico), and the composer herself on piano and electronic keyboards. Other leading voices to be found among the ensemble are the bouzouki of Spiros Goumas and the guitar of Thomas Konstantinou. Karaindrou’s arrangements brim with the personalities that made the series (available on YouTube here, if you want a sense of context) such a colorful success. With an effortless combination of beauty and whimsy that is her bread and butter, she weaves a full biographical tapestry for her subjects.

Each piece embodies a life. Moods range from the understated to the exuberant. As in so many of her soundtracks, a fantastical approach to history clothes a dreamlike core, adorned with moments of unabashed reality, at once uplifting and heartbreaking. In this case, it’s all about contrast. Whether baiting shadows with light or vice versa, every motif has its opposite. Tunes sport many variations, as if showing us just how chameleonic people can be as they interact, divide, and everything in between. Even the opening tango, alluring as it is, has its mournful reiterations (the fourth of which, for harp and accordion, is the most haunting). All of which suits the voyeuristic nature of the show, affording us glimpses through one window after another at the lives of those just trying to find their place in an increasingly cosmopolitan world.

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