Lusine Grigoryan

Komitas: Seven Songs

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The Armenian composer Komitas, also known as Soghomon Soghomonian or Komitas Vardapet ("Komitas the Priest") was a unique figure. Essentially the founder of Armenian classical music, he wrote short pieces that were deeply informed by his study of Armenian folksong and vernacular instrumental music. He was not exactly a nationalist but rather a composer fascinated by the musical language of folk music and seeking to extend it. The new interest by the ECM label in Komitas' music is great news, for the label's famed vanishing-point acoustics catch the small details in his music that evoke models of folk playing. Armenian pianist Lusine Grigoryan obviously treats this music as a labor of love, and you also get her own notes on the music (as well as an introduction by the always informative Paul Griffiths), drawn from an interpretive tradition that in most cases probably came down directly from Komitas himself. Sample one of the Pieces for Children, brief works that look forward to Bartók's Mikrokosmos. A deeply absorbing, beautifully recorded album.

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