Composer Max Theodorax, whose groundbreaking score from the film “Zorba the Greek” helped promote a sunny, carefree image of his country for millions of tourists, died on Thursday at the age of 96.
As news of his death spread across the country, parliament fell silent for a moment.
“Today we have lost a part of the Greek spirit,” said Culture Minister Lena Mendoni.
Theodorakis, a tall man with shining eyes and wavy hair, gave birth to communism and the progressive, democratic vision of the world through his music.
But his political struggle, including his imprisonment and the persecution of his leftist views, reflects a different aspect of Greece that viewers have rarely seen.
His compositions ranged from the soundtrack to the 1964 film – an international hit starring Anthony Quinn as a bully who dances barefoot on the shores of Cretan – the great “Romeo and Juliet” (Greek) A series of songs of intense recognition and resistance.
The Greek Communist Party’s KKE said in a statement that “their work was a constant confrontation with injustice and defeatism, new struggles and resistance.”
His melodies became widely popular, becoming the anthem of the left and gaining the dislike of the right, meaning they were often banned.
He was arrested and tortured in July 1947 on charges of guerrilla sympathy in a war between the right-wing monarchy and the left-wing people’s forces after World War II.
Legendary Greek musician and pro-democracy icon Max Theodorakis died earlier today.
He will be greatly missed, but his musical legacy will live on for centuries to come. pic.twitter.com/eGUnNgjLN3.
– Greek analyst (reekGreekAnalyst) September 2, 2021.
He was imprisoned and tortured again by the military junta that ruled Greece from 1967 to 1974.
In later life he held two positions in Parliament, for different parties.
“I am not a communist or a social democrat or anything else. I am a free man,” he once told Reuters in an interview.