All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

4

: Komitas: Seven Songs

Hrayr Attarian By

Sign in to view read count
Pioneering ethnomusicologist Komitas (Soghomon Soghomonian) is best known for transcribing and preserving Armenian popular music in the late 19th and early 20th century. He was, however, also a singer, choirmaster and an accomplished composer in the western classical tradition. The 2017 Seven Songs on ECM label's New Music Series features expressive pianist Lusine Grigoryan interpreting 28 short and captivating Komitas compositions.

Grigoryan gets to the emotive and intellectual core of these pieces with vibrant elegance and exquisite subtlety. She showcases simultaneously the playful whimsy and the tender fragility common to the 12, brief, "Pieces for Children." She does it with agility, without being abrupt and exposes their full flavor and their effervescence all within their fleeting, under-a-minute time span.

The seven songs of the title vary from the melancholic and pastoral "Semplice" that resembles an autumnal landscape to the solemn and prayer like "Comodo Dark." On the former Grigoryan demonstrates rich feeling and reserved passion as she lets loose resonant and repeating Armenian folk motifs. The latter, she imbues with deep and exalted spirituality. Her hesitant chords sashay gracefully on the fluttering "Dolente" and she gallops across the keyboard on the dynamic "Allegrezza Energico" with lyricism and exuberance.

The third section of the album is called "Seven Dances" and consists of delightful and moving harmonic miniatures named after regional dances. "Yeranagi" for example has tiptoeing lines that gingerly overlap to build a crystalline tune. While "Het U Araj" is replete with charming ebb and flow that Grigoryan performs with shimmering hues.

The disc closes with a haunting gem, "Toghik." Written in 1915, the year of the Armenian genocide, the ominous and sublime melodic fragment consists of sparse cascading notes mixed with carefully placed silent pauses. Grigoryan reveals the raw sorrow and the mournful whimper within with deceptive simplicity and eloquent poetry.

This intriguing and poignant record is a well-rounded representation of Komitas' work. Thanks to Grigoryan's virtuosity and ECM's impeccable sound Seven Songs is a compelling disc that transcends genres and national heritages and delivers an intensely satisfying listening experience.

Track Listing: Semplice; II Dolente; III Allegro Non Troppo; IV Allegretto Semplice, Tempo Rubato; V Comodo; VI Nobile; VII Allegrazza, Energico; Msho Shoror; I Manushaki; II Yerangi; III Unabi; IV Marali; V Shushiki; VI Het U Araj; VII Shoror; I Allegretto Amabile; II Allegretto Amabile; III Vivo; IV Allegro Moderato; V Andantino; VI Lento; VII Vivace; VIII Moderato Con Giubilo; IX Con Alterezza; X Calmo; XI Moderato; XII Andantino Con Tenerezza; Toghik.

Personnel: Lusine Grigoryan: piano

Title: Komitas: Seven Songs | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: ECM Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Uplift The People CD/LP/Track Review
Uplift The People
by John Sharpe
Published: August 21, 2018
Read A New Shade Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review
A New Shade Of Blue
by Chris May
Published: August 21, 2018
Read Rabbits on the Run CD/LP/Track Review
Rabbits on the Run
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 21, 2018
Read Imaginary Numbers CD/LP/Track Review
Imaginary Numbers
by John Sharpe
Published: August 21, 2018
Read Point Blank CD/LP/Track Review
Point Blank
by Chris May
Published: August 20, 2018
Read Tell Me The Truth CD/LP/Track Review
Tell Me The Truth
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 20, 2018
Read "Don't Play With Love" CD/LP/Track Review Don't Play With Love
by Phillip Woolever
Published: May 1, 2018
Read "Moku Maluhia - Peaceful Island" CD/LP/Track Review Moku Maluhia - Peaceful Island
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 18, 2018
Read "Official Bootleg: Live in Chicago, June 28th, 2017" CD/LP/Track Review Official Bootleg: Live in Chicago, June 28th, 2017
by John Kelman
Published: October 12, 2017
Read "D'Agala" CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 22, 2018
Read "No One Ever Tells You" CD/LP/Track Review No One Ever Tells You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 15, 2018
Read "Humanities" CD/LP/Track Review Humanities
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 21, 2018