Label : ECM records
Release date: October 2015
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Levon Eskenian formed his ensemble in 2008 to explore the inspirational sources of Gurdjieff’s music. The group’s debut album, Music of Georges I. Gurdjieff, issued by ECM in 2011, was a history-making project, drawing new attention to Gurdjieff’s compositions in his native Armenia and around the world, and winning prizes – including the Edison Award in the Netherlands and the National Music Award in Armenia – for its imaginative recasting of the music for traditional folk instruments.
At the urging of producer Manfred Eicher Levon Eskenian has gone on to prepare material for two new recordings concentrating on Komitas Vardapet (1869-1935): one with Komitas’s music for piano played by Lusine Grigoryan (to be released in 2016), and the present disc with vivid and exciting arrangements of Komitas for Eskenian’s folk instruments group. Both albums were recorded at Lugano’s Auditorio Stelio Molo RSI in February 2015.
Komitas is revered by Armenians as his nation’s most brilliant songwriter. He was also more than this, a composer, singer, priest, philosopher, poet, ethnomusicologist, collector of folk songs, writer of sacred and secular music bridging the old and the new. The fine line that connects the melodic character of the most ancient Armenian music with the works of contemporary Armenian composers runs through his work and for this reason he is often referred to as the father of modern Armenian music. His music was an important reference for Thomas de Hartmann when preparing Gurdjieff’s music for solo piano and Komitas also influenced Levon Eskenian when preparing his own Gurdjieff arrangements. For these and other reasons reinvestigating the music of Komitas seemed a logical next step for Eskenian and the Gurdjieff Ensemble.