Feb. 23, 2021Print | PDF
Program Notes for "Origins" Music at Noon concert
This concert is my way of paying tribute to a part of my heritage. All the repertoire is by Armenian composers, written either as original compositions or as concert transcriptions of traditional music. This represents only a tiny fraction of the vast musical output that comes from Armenia, both from past and present times.
Here are a few words about the composers:
Komitas (1869-1936) is considered the father of Armenian classical music; he was, among other things, an ethnomusicologist, composer, singer, pianist, priest, and poet. His main passion was tracing back through the ages and preserving his nation's cultural roots, which drove him to dedicate his life to researching the folk music of Armenia and the surrounding regions. He collected and transcribed traditional songs and dances, composed sacred and secular original works, founded many Armenian orchestras and choirs, toured with concerts, wrote papers, and presented at European musicological conferences on the Armenian musical legacy and its unique characteristics.
His transcriptions of traditional music are understated and sparse in texture, brilliantly capturing the pure essence of each song or dance.
In this recital, Komitas' folk song transcriptions and original works are further arranged by two composer-pianists of a younger generation: Georgy Sarajyan (1919-1986) and Robert Andriassyan (1913-1971).
Trained in and inspired by the European Romantic tradition, they wrote in a very different style than that of Komitas. This style was characterized by rich virtuosic textures and late Romantic idioms and used the piano keyboard to its fullest potential.
I discovered the work of Artur Avanesov (1980-) last year while searching for some fresh music to play and to give to my students. I instantly fell in love with his intellectually and emotionally captivating writing. He references a broad spectrum of styles and cultures while fundamentally drawing inspiration from his heritage. I am excited to share his music with you.
Please join me on this journey of discovery; I hope you find it as joyful as I do.
Zemestani/ Bahari/ Beheshti (2008)
The main part of Zemestani/Bahari/Beheshti was composed in March-July 2008 in Yerevan, Armenia. Three Farsi words are used as a title of this cycle; these are adjectives of “winter”, “spring” and “paradise”. However, the music is not descriptive. The whole piece can be considered as variation of the initial phrase of the first movement containing two merged triads: major and minor. The permanent combination of two opposite modes is aimed to create a bittersweet space of sadness without grief, to avoid all completeness through introducing unexpected modal solutions and ambiguities. It’s important to note that the titles Zemestani, Bahari and Beheshti not only can be attached to the separate movements, but also every movement can be entitled Zemestani, Bahari and Beheshti at the same time. There are also some phrases or melodic sequences that repeatedly appear in each movement. Generally, Zemestani/Bahari/Beheshti could be considered as an attempt to combine the baroque melody with intonations of Middle Eastern traditional music. ©Artur Avanesov
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