Inn for musicians is the title of a poem in the volume Manual of euthanasia, (publ. 1979), written by one of the major poets of Greece in the last century, Tassos Leivaditis (1922-1988). I think it was around 2006 when I found it and soon I loved it and I started composing music for it. I have spent whole nights to be sure that every single note is convincing my ears. Later on, during my short-time composition studies, I would compose a collection of 8 Miniatures based on material from a volume of aphorisms of his.
Το πανδοχείο των μουσικών
Κι εγώ που προσπάθησα μια ολόκληρη ζωή να το κρύβω προδόθηκα την τελευταία στιγμή, ήταν ένα άθλιο πανδοχείο, η σκάλα του άρρωστη από τόσα αβέβαια βήματα – καθόταν μόνος στην άκρη “σου εμπιστεύομαι τη ζωή μου” είπε, και μού ‘δειξε το γυμνό τοίχο, όμως εγώ ήξερα τι ήθελε να πει κι όταν ύστερα στο δρόμο τον αποχαιρέτησα “θα σε θυμάμαι πάντα, του λέω, και δεν θα αφήνω ούτε μια πέτρα κάτω απ’ τη βροχή.
Κι άρχισε τότε να νυχτώνει μια πένθιμη νύχτα προδοτική, γιατί όλοι είχαν τώρα πεθάνει και δε δίναν σημασία στα όνειρα.
The inn of musicians
And I, who tried to hide it all my life, betrayed myself at the last moment, it was a miserable inn, its stairs sick of so many uncertain steps – he was sitting alone on the edge “I trust you my life” he said, and he showed me the bare wall, but I knew what he meant and when I said goodbye to him later on the road “I will always remember you, I tell him, and I will not leave a single stone under the rain.
And then a mournful night of betrayal began to fall, because everyone was now dead and did not pay attention to dreams.
Not a bad google-translation, every part of this scenery still feels astonishing like in the original, you can take a good taste of the poem for non-greek speakers.
The text of the original poem comes in the form of a novel or an essay. Rhime is missing, but the text has very clear rhythmic and the first few words naturally introduce the pulse of a 5/8 bar. This 5/8, consisting of 3/8 plus 2/8 was actually pretty helpful in structuring the rhythm in the first moments and quickly introduced more complex bars of 7/8 (3+2+2) and 8/8 (3+3+2) up to 11/8 or 13/8. You can check it out in the score in the end of the post. Well, this development after a few lines brought up changes in the rhythm and in the tonality and led to a 2nd part where the text is not to be sung anymore, but spoken. At the same time the music becomes a bit chaotic and structured in clear blocks seperated by pauses where only spoken text exists. At the end a trumpet melody is added and is leading the piece to the end.
Back in 2008 I was studying in the conservatory and by chance I read that on the 30th of October of this year it would be the 30th anniversary of his passing away. With a group of teachers and students we managed to organise a concert with new as well as already existing compositions on his work, which took place on the 2nd of November 2008 in the theater of the Municipal Conservatory of Thermi.
The quite demanding piano part is played by Kostas Tsafis, who was back then my teacher in piano, history and theory of music and who, as a virtuoso musician and brilliant mind, helped me a lot with the score and the piano part, as well as with making decisions on the composition. I am singing and playing the trumpet. Voilà…