In October 1962, Theodorakis's own play, »The Ballad of the dead Brother«, which he had originally presented as a ballet suite, was presented as a musical drama. Its theme was the civil war. Its message was pacifist, conciliatory, urging Greeks of all political beliefs to unite and forget their old hatreds. The communist newspaper Avghi attacked the play for its compromising ideology and lack of »dialectical« analysis. (…)
The songs which Theodorakis generally terms »Ballads« form the third and most important of his song cycles. The texts of the ballads are distinguished by a unity not only of authorship but of thematic melodic material. The poems describe either a single event or situation and the mood of the lyrics is reflected by in the musical composition as a whole. (...)
The »Ballad of the dead Brother« (Tragoudi tou nekrou adelfou) consists of nine songs, all of which are settings of Theodorakis's own poetry, and form part of a work of »total theatre« which was first produced as a ballet and later as a play. The drama, which Theodorakis wrote himself, is set in the period of the civil war. Two brothers join opposing sites in the struggle, and the mother, idealised as in most modern Greek mythology, attempts to reconcile them. Both brothers die, the leftist brother Pavlos betrayed by his girlfriend in an attempt to save her father's life. The play ends in a scene of reconciliation, a »Gloria« written in the rhythm of a zembekiko, in which rightists, leftists, policemen and revolutionaries hold hand and sing: »Unite stone to stone! Unite hand to hand!« The play is a sort of Greek »West Side Story«, a contemporary myth, heavy with message, and readily adaptable to a musical interpretation.
© Gail Holst:»THEODORAKIS. Myth & Politics in Modern Greek Music«, 1979-1997
Ballad of the Brother (II) | Lyrics | Starting Page