Home » Gerstein’s ‘Music in Time of Struggle’ Pairs Debussy and Komitas

Gerstein’s ‘Music in Time of Struggle’ Pairs Debussy and Komitas

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KOMITAS, born Soghomon Soghomonyan, was introduced up in a seminary close to Yerevan after dropping his mom and father at an early age. (The names “Komitas” and “Vardapet” have been bestowed upon him later.) He emerged as a proficient composer for voice, choir and piano regardless of protestations from the clergy. However, as he later hung out in Berlin and Paris, his most essential contribution to Armenian music was as an avid collector of his nation’s folks music.

He was extra involved with capturing and preserving an imagined spirit of folklore than in recording it with strict self-discipline, although he additionally pioneered modern-day approaches to ethnomusicology by working to know the important cultural context behind the music’s manufacturing. “In his analysis papers, he described not solely the songs per se, but in addition the situations of their efficiency — panorama, time of day, climate,” the musicologist Artur Avanesov writes in one of many album e-book’s essays. “A long time later, the identical was carried out by Olivier Messiaen.”

Gerstein described Komitas’s music as “gestural” and “stark,” and as having “a sense of immense house and spaciousness.” That is most keenly felt in his set of Armenian songs like “Tsirani Tsar,” by which single, unadorned traces are unfold far aside on the piano, with a gaping chasm in between.

“I haven’t been in a position to carry out these songs for a very long time,” Mantashyan, the soprano, mentioned in an interview. Her grandfather’s cousin, Alexander Mantashyan, was a patron of Komitas, and despatched a grand piano to Berlin to assist the composer work. She has identified his songs since she was a scholar on the Komitas State Conservatory of Yerevan. Nevertheless it has taken 15 years for her to really feel like she’s able to file them. As Avanesov says, “Writing on Komitas whereas dwelling in Armenia is a job tantamount to rethinking the Scriptures.”

When Mantashyan collaborate with Gerstein on Komitas’s songs, “Antuni” (“Homeless”), a bit with deep resonance among the many Armenian diaspora, was recorded in a single take then left unedited. “It’s not about perfection,” she mentioned of the music. “It’s about ache.”

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