miércoles, 1 de julio de 2009

Tigran Mansurian - Ars Poetica

MP3 320 kbps / 110 Mb / Scans

In ECM's Ars Poetica, Armenian composer Tigran Mansurian pays tribute to poet Yeghishe Charents, a major Armenian versifier of the early twentieth century whose life was extinguished early in the "Great Terror" under Stalin. The ECM disc of Ars Poetica makes an even better case for Charents as poet than one is likely to find in an English-language bookstore; the notes contain texts in English for the 10 poems included in Mansurian's vocal concerto in addition to a concise, but appreciative biographical sketch for the poet -- none is provided for the composer.

However, it is the music that makes or breaks the release, and in this respect Ars Poetica ranks very highly, as it is gorgeous, emotive, and very deeply felt a cappella choral music. Mansurian states that while he had known Charents' poetry since its publication after Stalin's death, he had not considered setting it to music until "the music itself yearned to be composed." This is the aspect of Ars Poetica that comes through; the music is fully the product of inspiration, and it flows very naturally from Charents' texts to the voices of the Armenian Chamber Choir as led by Robert Mlkeyan. The recording, made live at the Saghmosavank Monastery in Armenia, is beautifully engineered and does not allow the choir to get lost in the ambience of the hall. In this instance, Mansurian's compositional style is a little closer to that of Hugo Distler than that of, say, Arvo Pärt, and Mansurian does not shy away from representing conflict in his music when the texts, for example "Anxiety," call for it. Nonetheless, the pieces "Night" and "And Silence Descends" are very moving and compositionally assured settings -- the nut is fully cracked here, and those who appreciate choral music will find the whole of Ars Poetica very rewarding listening. Those who insist on "music by the yard" might find its 47-minute running time a tad stingy, but the idea of limiting the disc to this single, very long unaccompanied choral work seems sensible -- what could you add to it to make it more meaningful? (Uncle Dave Lewis - All Music Guide)

Armenian Chamber Choir
Robert Mlkeyan conductor


Part I
Three Night Songs

Part II
Three Portraits of Women
Your Enamel Profile
The Rainbow
Manon Lescaut

Part III
Three Autumn Songs
The Wind
Japanes Tankas
Song of Autumn

Part IV
And Silence Descends

Recorded June 2003

ECM New Series 1895


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