In memory of so many…
Τι ωραία που είν’ η αγάπη μου, η χαϊδεμένη από τη μάνα της και τ’ αδελφού της τα φιλιά. Κανείς δεν ήξερε πως είναι τόσο ωραία.
The “Mauthausen Trilogy” also known as “The Ballad of Mauthausen”, and the “Mauthausen Cantata”, is a cycle of four arias with lyrics based on poems written by Greek poet Iakovos Kambanellis, a Mauthausen concentration camp survivor, and music written by Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis.
It has been described as the “most beautiful musical work ever written about the Holocaust”,and as “an exquisite, haunting and passionate melody that moves Kambanellis’ affecting words to an even higher level”.
In May 1988, the world premiere of the “Trilogy” at the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria was attended by then Austrian chancellor Franz Vranitzky and tens of thousands of Europeans.
The ballad was conducted by Theodorakis and sung by Maria Farandouri and Demis Roussos in Greek, Elinor Moav in Hebrew and Gisela May in German. In May 1995, Theodorakis conducted a repeat concert of the ballad at the camp to mark the 50th anniversary of its liberation from the Nazis.
It is one of the best known compositions inspired by events at the Mauthausen concentration camp, it is popular in Israel, and has been used to promote peace and cooperation worldwide. In 1991, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Israel conducted by Zubin Mehta performed the work as part of the Athens Festival.
The ballad reflects Kambanellis’s own experience at Mauthausen, including his love for a Lithuanian-Jewish woman, as it recounts the love affair between a young Greek prisoner and his Jewish love amidst the atrocities they witnessed at the camp.
Approximately a year after the release of his ballad, during the premiere of the Mauthausen song cycle in London in 1967, Mikis Theodorakis was imprisoned in Greece by the recently installed Greek military junta and his music was banned in the country.