21. March 2009

Klangraum Krems Minoritenkirche

„Hayren“ - The Music of Tigran Mansurian and Komitas



Kim Kashkashian (viola) | Armenia, USA; Tigran Mansurian (piano, voice, composition) | Armenia; Robyn Schulkovsky (percussion) | USA




The Armenian musician, monk and poet Komitas (1869-1935) rendered an endless number of folk songs into a composed form and thus conserved the century-old heritage of Armenian folk and church music. Secluded from the Western world a completely independent and unique music developed in Armenia out of strict catholic belief. To explore and understand its deep layers is an essential creative motivation for the Armenian composer Tigran Mansurian (*1939) who gains valuable elements for his compositions from Armenian music.


Mansurian compares the extremely economic character of Armenian music with the country’s mountainous and rocky topography, which forces oneself to plough deep in order to get anything fertile from the smallest area of ground. In this sense, Mansurian’s compositions are made up of only a few basic elements, which are, however, elaborated in manifold ways.


In Krems, the Armenian will raise his voice to sincere Armenian singing and protrude his own compositional world at the piano together with the Armenian viola player Kim Kashkashian and the percussionist Robin Schulkowsky.


Komitas himself was left voiceless due to the Armenian genocide during the Turkish offensive in the Caucasus at the beginning of the 20th century. Gone mad, he died in exile in Paris. In Mansurian and in Kashkashian, Komita’s and Armenia’s voices live on. “Hayren”, meaning as much as “Armenian tune”, stands for the poetical style of singing in which a people’s passionate belief and the sensations of a raw landscape resonate. Originally two-line stanzas, the hayrens developed into rich song series about love and life and were orally passed on from one generation to the next—until Komitas finally started their documentation.