by Manolis Kalomiris
The Levendia Symphony was written between 1918 and 1920. The composer conceived his first ideas on the mountains and plains of Macedonia and attempted to express in music his emotions on Greek «Levendia» in all its expressions: the joy of life, war, dancing, love, death.
The first movement «Maestoso Patetico» attempts to express in music the force of youth and the joy of passion and victory. The second movement «Lento» (The cemetery on the mountain slope) is based on the following poem:
Far on the mountain slope the heroes are deep in sleep,
The night birds bitterly mourn them,
The stars are their candles and the cool breeze is their lullaby
Yet Glory twines an eternal wreath of laurel above them…
Far on the mountain slope the heroes are deep in sleep.
The third movement «Scherzo» is a feast of the young soldiers which also expresses their sorrow and pessimism:
The earth that we step on, one day will cover us all.
The fourth movement «Finale» is based on a Byzantine Hymn to the victorious Virgin Mary and uses also the heroic theme of the first movement. The «Levendia Symphony» was first performed in the Herodus Atticus Theatre, during the victory celebrations, in September 1920. It is dedicated to the poet Costis Palamas.
(“Levendia” can only approximately be translated as heroism. It has moral and physical attributes and is usually associated with a handsome, honest and brave young man.)