Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Symphony 3 / Marmar Op 15a
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Top notch disc by little known composer & orchestra
Moses Alexander | Alabama, USA | 06/30/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"They say that there are more composers alive today than in the rest of history combined. Thinking of the astounding volume of music that exists from bygone eras, it makes sifting through "new music" a daunting and virtually impossible task. That is why finding something as delightful as this is splendid, but not at all surprising. Hovhannessian is a living composer and a prominent student of Aram Khachaturian. While you can easily recognize Khachaturian's influence (drama, driving rhythms, great color, etc.) upon Hovhannessian, that's not to say that Hovhannessian is a clone either. He's got some original ideas, and is a splendid orchestrator. Just as some of Khachaturian's most memorable works are ballets, here too, Hovhannessian's "Marmar: Ballet Suite no. 1" is an absolute joy (and written in 1963 when the composer was 33 years old...he's 71 today.) Its full of vigor, great dance rhythms, sweeping emotion and gorgeous strings, and contains so many of the elements that make Armenian music so distinct (it is also devoid of senseless noise and "academic-ness.") The much later work, "Symphony no. 3 for strings & percussion" (1983) shows a much more mature composer at work. While its a little tougher to get acquainted with than "Marmar" it has rich rewards for those that are patient. With a very limited palette of instruments, Hovhannessian achieves much. Like most great works for orchestral sections, one doesn't at all notice the absence of the missing sections (in this case winds & brass.) His writing compensates for the loss instruments, and that is a high compliment.Not only are the two works excellent, but the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Loris Tjeknavorian is an extremely talented, tight, and competent group of players. This disc has much more control, skill, passion and vigor than much of what I've heard from some of the big European orchestras (unfortunately most labels will release anything by the Berlin PO, Vienna PO, London SO, etc...just because its them, not taking into account the merit of the performance.) These folks are playing like they mean it. I'm sure for such a small nation like Armenia, that musicians playing the music of a fellow countryman is quite inspiring. I can't recommend this disc enough."
Hovhannessian, a slightly known delight!
R. W. Butcher | Coldspring, TX USA | 12/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My only exposure to Edgar Sergei Hovhannessian's music was purely incidental, but after one hearing the ballet suite Marmar was very dear to my heart. The music is reminiscent of Khachaturian, who was one of Hovhannessian's teachers, but is very original. The Adagio (4) is particularly lovely, but the entire work is melodic, descriptive, and moving. The second work on this CD, the Symphony No.3, is more idiosyncratic than Marmar, and it took several listenings to absorb it. I have come to believe that it is a greater work than Marmar. In any event, I recommend Hovhannessian enthusiastically and without reservation. The performance is by the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Loris Tjeknavorian, and is very professional. I hope that more of Hovhannessian's work will be available to us."