Dancing in the Plateia

Richard Fay (Composer)

Research output: Non-textual formComposition


Originally composed in 2005, and recorded in 2019. Leaving the Greek island of Kithera at the end of a baking August, the ticket collector's farewell (Kalo himona) - a wish that the winter would treat us well - struck me oddly at first. But then I realised that, once the summer tourists leave the island, they won't return til the coming winter has passed. So there is sense in this plea for a mild winter even though the snows to come seem inconceivable amid the summer heat.

Athens, early September, everyone has returned for the impending year (of work and school) and yet, no-one is quite ready for the knuckling down that is now needed. Free concerts still take place in the municipal square (plateia), a last assertion of down-time.

I could hear the bass long before I saw the musicians in the plateia, a hynoptic pulse that carried the dance even when the melody was lost in the breeze and traffic. In the square, a gentle waft of dust in the air, and an older couple, maybe a brother and sister, both in black, gently elegant as they turn and circle with the music.

It is unavoidably melancholic - the languid dance, the mesmeric bass, the summer's dust kicked up by the couple's boots in their widow/er's weeds, the end of summer, the last moments of escapism, the ennui of the musicians and dancers, the subdued crowds milling around - and yet it is also timelessly evocative ... in this plateia, couples have been endlessly dancing these steps to this music, and just as winter is coming, so too will the dancing return to the plateia in the coming year.
from Helix: Music for Hard Times, released January 1, 2020
Composed by: Richard Fay (2005)
Recorded, mixed, mastered by: Sam Gee

Katherine Blumer (clarinet)
Bob Dinn (trumpet)
James Heathcote (cello)
Mabon Jones (violin)
Sarah Keirle (viola)
Jemima Kirkland (flute)
Dan Mawson (bass clarinet)
Sheila Seal (piano)
Nina Semertzidou (violin)
Delia Stevens (percussion)
Sophie Sully (double bass)
Imogen Trinder (flute)
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020
Eventother; 1824-01-01 - Recorded in the Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall, University of Manchester
Duration: 1 Jan 1824 → …


  • Helix
  • ethno-classical


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