Tigran Mansurian has created a Requiem dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide that occurred in Turkey from 1915 to 1917. It reconciles the sound and sensibility of his country’s traditions with the Latin Requiem text in a profoundly moving contemporary composition, illuminated by the “glow of Armenian modality,” as Paul Griffiths puts it in his booklet essay. The work is a milestone for Mansurian, widely acknowledged as Armenia’s greatest composer. The Los Angeles Times has described his music as that “in which deep cultural pain is quieted through an eerily calm, heart-wrenching beauty.”
This album is the sixth to appear in ECM’s documentation of Mansurian’s work, a series that began with the scene-setting Hayren: Music of Komitas And Tigran Mansurian in 2003. That initial recording featured Kim Kashkashian – American violist of Armenian descent and a longstanding ECM artist – in league with Mansurian and percussionist Robin Schulkowsky as they explored the sound world of the iconic Armenian spiritual figure, composer and musicologist Komitas, a key inspiration for Mansurian.
Tigran Mansurian was born in 1939 in Beirut to Armenian parents and first attended school at a French Catholic institution. His family returned in 1947 to their native country, eventually settling in Yerevan, the capital. He graduated from the Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory and later taught the analysis of contemporary music there, along with composing art songs, choral pieces, chamber music, orchestral works, a ballet and film scores. He developed friendly relationships with such performers as Natalya Gutman and Oleg Kagan, as well as fellow composers Edison Denisov, Alfred Schnittke, Sofia Gubaidulina and Arvo Pärt. In the early 1990s Mansurian took on the directorship of the Yerevan Conservatory, withdrawing in recent years to concentrate exclusively on composition. (ECM Records)