domingo, 23 de noviembre de 2014

Kim Kashkashian HAYREN Music of Komitas and Tigran Mansurian

Tigran Mansurian’s composition “Nostalgia” was recently hailed as a highlight of Alexei Lubimov’s recital disc Der Bote. Now an important new recording from Kim Kashkashian brings Armenia’s leading contemporary composer to ECM New Series in a programme that also explores the roots of Armenian music. Compositions by Mansurian for viola and percussion, played by Kashkashian and Robyn Schulkowsky, receive their premiere recordings here, and frame a selection of Mansurian’s arrangements of the music of Komitas.
Komitas (1869-1935) is revered by Armenians as his nation’s most brilliant songwriter. He was also more than this. Composer, priest, philosopher, poet, ethnomusicologist, collector of folk songs, writer of sacred and secular music that bridged the old and the new …. The fine line that connects the melodic character of the most ancient Armenian music with the works of contemporary Armenian composers runs through Komitas.
In his settings of the Komitas pieces, Mansurian shows us the rich soil from which his own music springs. Analogies can be drawn also with Kashkashian’s last disc, the widely acclaimed “Voci”, on which Berio’s music was set alongside the folksongs that inspired it. In exploring Komitas, American-Armenian violist Kashkashian is also contacting her own roots. Kashkashian and Mansurian understand each other perfectly here. When they first met, the music of Komitas proved a common bond. “The necessity to live with our traditional melodies was already apparent to both of us,” says Mansurian, “and I understood that these pieces belong as much to Kim as they do to Komitas.”
The Mansurian/Kashkashian association was further strengthened by an “Armenian Night” realized with the help of Manfred Eicher, at the 1999 Bergen International Music Festival, in which Kashkashian, Robyn Schulkowsky, and Jan Garbarek participated, along with the Yerevan Chamber Choir and leading Armenian soloists. During the concert some of Mansurian’s works were played for the first time, including the Duet for Viola and Percussion, and “Havik”. Mansurian: “The poetical text and the melody of this song were written by the great 10th century Armenian mystic Grigor Narekatsi.” An early 20th century recording of Komitas singing this song exists, and it inspired Mansurian’s composition, in which he “tried to retain all the nuances of Komitasian performance.”
The album’s title, Hayren alludes to the “poetical style most beloved by Armenians, which has a tradition of centuries.” Mansurian continues, ‘Hayren’ is dense with the phonetics and intonation of our language, and the Armenian landscape and aspects of Armenian worldview and sentiment are also present."

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