Various Artists

The Music of Armenia [Box]

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This seven-CD collection is truly beautiful and truly eye-opening. Through Christianity, Armenia shares a common musical origin with Europe, especially in choral works. Due to geography, culture, and the pre-Medieval split of the Armenia Church from the Roman Catholic, Armenia is foreign and nearly Eastern. The musical result is a treasure, at times an unearthed gem of familiarity and then siren calls of exotic charm. The Music of Armenia, Vol. 1: Sacred Music sounds right out of Gregorian songbook. The similarity cannot be denied. The exquisite production invites us back to a Middle Ages monophone recital; powerful and moving. Vol. 2: Medieval Chant follows in the same vein. Here the Sharakan Early Music Ensemble backs a cavalcade of Armenian guest artists. Vol. 3: Duduk feels distinctly Armenian. (The duduk is a double-reed wind instrument.) The next in the series is Vol. 4: Kanon. (A kanon is a zither-like folk instrument.) With both CDs it is apparent the featured instruments are offering melodies ripe for vocalization. Indeed, each recording is composed entirely of transcriptions of vocal works. The results are addictive and lyrical, giving each track life and strength. Vol. 1: Sacred Music and Vol. 3: Duduk are the most touching -- very human and emotional in delivery -- warm documents of a people rich in art. Vol. 5 is a double CD. One disc features the Shoghaken Folk Ensemble and the other the Sasun Folk Group. Here are songs for dancing and remembering -- an evocative collection from a time when history was passed on lyrically. Vol. 6: Nagorno-Karabakh represents the contemporary form of Armenian folk music. These are mostly songs of grief; Nagorno-Karabakh is the region most torn by war and strife. The entire set is instantly open to the Western ear. A rewarding and singular musical experience.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 4:16
5 2:28
6 2:41
8 2:09
10 2:18
12 3:44
13 2:21
14 2:41
15 2:08
16 4:25
18 1:51
19 2:49
20 2:22
21 3:28
blue highlight denotes track pick