When we said goodbye to Mickey last year, we pledged to do everything in our power to “bring all the treasures of his music wide open to the world”. Especially in the youth. Of course, we have always been concerned about this and we have a long way to go. We never left things to chance. But last year, more than any other time, the KNE Festivals were filled with the notes of his music, tributes to the “Radicalist” and the “Guide” entered dozens of workplaces, schools and colleges, communist teachers spoke to thousands of students for his life and work. The “red balloon” with a special insert touched hundreds of children’s hearts. There was no strike, rally, demonstration where we did not march to the rhythm of “Lambris”, there was no event where the red flag was not waved with thousands of mouths softly singing “with so many lights, the sky is shining”.
And this is what we continue to do, because we believe that by bringing the new generation into contact with the work of Mikis Theodorakis, we are bringing them into contact with a great popular achievement.
His art is truly a creation of his time, his participation in the struggle itself is the defining element both in his large symphonic works and in the more popular, song cycles he establishes. By saying this we are not at all underestimating his enormous musical talent, a prerequisite for his artistic creation, but also developed in the given circumstances. After all, as he himself has said: “It seems that my talent, like a strange battery, fills up in there. In the warmth of the handshake, in the eagle eye of the competitor, in the chants of the rallies and the roar of the battle… but talent does not come alone. To grow, it needs a thick layer of sensitivity. This means that the true artist cannot remain indifferent when around him others are suffering, humiliated, hungry, crushed… Then this sensitivity becomes a responsibility and brings the artist into the people”.
We can say that we are lucky. Because it is truly a happy moment when the musical talent, the great historical events and the pioneering fighting attitude of the artist meet. In such moments Art flourishes. And the Art that was written in the sheet music and notebooks of Mikis Theodorakis, the Art that was recorded in his mind even in the most difficult conditions such as e.g. in Makronissos when he wrote his first symphony, it is truly magnificent.
We therefore have an additional duty. To form a wider educational cultural current in which young artists can also come into contact with the entirety of his work, to study it, to be taught: As the legend of Antæus also describes, he gained strength when he stepped on the earth, living and singing the struggles of the people. And at the same time he was deeply studying the great Art. He himself said that he had a relentless thirst to learn the language of Bach, Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Berlioz, Wagner.
Today young artists are making efforts. We are sure that as long as the movement is regrouped and flares up, songs will be written, works of art will be created that will answer the big questions of the time, giving impetus forward, but also the opposite. How high they will reach we do not know, this will also be a battle, nothing stands still, even if few reach the great heights.
In any case, the enlistment of artists on the side of the people will give the labor and more broadly the popular movement dynamism and diversity. It will contribute to the development of the movement itself. Because the workers’ contact with Art and Culture can equip them with great moral and spiritual resources useful for endurance, enthusiasm, ingenuity in the methods of struggle.
Of course, we understand that the subject is much more complex, that getting to know great Art requires more. What can give wings is the method of analysis, understanding and intervention in reality, the Marxist worldview, contact and assimilation of the theory of scientific communism.