Axion Esti, the poetry of Odysseas Elytis, the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature (1979), was put to music by the renowned composer Miki Theodorakis. He died in 2021 leaving behind a huge opus of scores, symphonic works, chamber music, cantatas and oratorios, hymns, ballets, operas, music for the stage, for modern plays and international theatre as well as film scores.

You will know the music of Miki Theodorakis. He composed the score for Zorba the Greek (1964), for Serpico (1973) winning a BAFTA for Z. He left a huge body of work spread across all the sounds of Greece, which he termed “metasymponic music”. His music went beyond any one genre: encompassing formal European orchestras, Byzantium chants, popular music and the tunes played by Greek villagers on the Bouozuki.

Dimitri Basis, when a young singer, met Miki, who encouraged him to sing the full score of Axion Esti. Many of its songs were banned by the Junta and, in 1999 Miki wanted to bring all the songs back to the people. Dimitri, his band, together with three generations of Brisbane choirs, will do exactly that for Brisbane audiences.

The poem Το τραγούδι του νεκρού αδελφού “Dead Brother”, put to music after the civil war, brought brothers from the left and right together, with the intention of reuniting Greece after so much betrayal and suffering.

Theodorakis was political. He supported the Communist Party but more than that, he supported our shared humanity. Elytis too was political, refusing support from the junta and instead moving to Paris. His It Is Truly Meet (Το Άξιον Εστί) was set to music by Mikis Theodorakis as an oratorio. It is a revered anthem whose verse is sung by all Greeks for all injustice, resistance and for its sheer beauty and musicality of form.

Elytis’ poetry Axion Esti will be performed in QPAC’s Concert Hall on 5th June 2024. There is one concert only and political West Enders, musical West Enders and, of course, Greek West Enders together with the families and friends of the large choirs will swell the hall. And it will swell your heart. At a time like this, the music of Theodorakis is exactly what we need.

Get your tickets soon because it will sell out.

or phone 136 246.

Kerry McGovern