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Friday, May 31, 2019
Nikoghayos Tigranian, Armenian Dances, Mugam Arrangements, Mikael Ayrapetyan
This is a wonderful set of works that dwells decidedly in Armenian folk mode territory yet also comes across with the expressivity of 20th century art music. The liners inform us that Tigranian was among the important first generation of Armenian composers and folk song collectors that included Komitas Vardapet, who for me is the more familiar name among them. They set about preserving folk songs and dances in a systematic way and through their own compositional talents set the stage for an classical Armenian local style that of course stays with us today.
Anyone who knows and loves the very special Armenian take on Middle Eastern harmonic and otherwise minor-moded presence will find this music rather irresistible, I would think. There is a good hour of music that maintains a high level of contentful intensity throughout, beginning with the 11 Armenian Folk Dances from 1935 and on through some very worthy opuses that are in fact the Mugum Arrangements alluded to in the title--the "Bayati Kurd, Op. 2" of 1894, "Bayati-Shiraz, Op. 3" of 1896, and the piano versions of the 1897 "Heydari, Op. 5," and the 1899 "Shakhnaz, Op. 6," and then finally the 1907 "Nouruz Arabi, Op. 10."
The music is first-rate and well performed. Anyone who loves the Armenian tinge will welcome this. Those not familiar with what that means will find this a very good introduction to it as well. Recommended with a big smile.