The entire Music of Armenia series began as a musical detour while David Parsons was on assignment for Celestial Harmonies' The Music of Islam (19907) series. Fortunately, for our historyand evolutionthe lost arts, musically speaking, of this biblical area which has and continues to travel the path of love, hatred and destruction, only to someday be revered and loved again, is superbly recreated and created anew.
Covering the geographic area of Armenia, as well as the musical traditions, Parsons discovered the most outstanding traditional music he had ever heard. After listening to the first volume, Sacred Choral Music, you too will mimic Parsons, whetting your soul's appetite for more. The haunting, emotionally provocative liturgical chants of the second volume, Sharakan, stretches the soul to the depth of rememberingsadly, yet lovingly with hope. Continuing on the wings of hope and time, volumes three and four, Duduk and Kanon, are largely eloquent instrumental transcriptions of what were originally vocal works, songful and soulful as the first two volumes. Folk Music, volume five are songs and dances reflecting Armenia's history and Nagorno-Karabakh brings this musical evolution to the twentieth century featuring contemporary folk music. Naturally, this volume is about the war and its consequences yet maintains and even cultivates its Armenian roots.
While this series has an astonishing impact on Armenians and Westerners alike, often invoking a deep emotional soul cry, what is most remarkable and probably makes the biggest impact throughout each volume in this series is the Armenian spirit, representing the human spirit. As we listen we too feel the experiences and somehow, unbroken, the spirit rises, lifting us up to continue...
Recreating the classical sacred choral music on Volume One: Sacred Choral Music (13115) is the famous Haissmavourk Choir directed by Mihran Ghazelian.
Volume Two: Medieval Chant (13116) features the acclaimed Sharakan Early Music Ensemble directed by Grigor Danielian, accompanied by several guest artists. Most notably is soprano Anna Mailian, Armenia's finest classical and operatic singer.
Departing from the sacred/classical vocals, in Volume Three: Duduk (13117) Gevorg Dabagian exquisitely demonstrates the versatility and depth of the nearly 1,500 year old double-reed wind instrument duduk, in traditional/folk music.
Volume Four: Kanon (13118) continues with instrumental works featuring the diversity of the zither-like kanon, played by Karineh Hovhannessian. The final volumes focus on the broad folk music of Armenia.
Volume Five: Folk Music (14119) is a voluminous double cd featuring The Shoghaken Folk Ensemble and The Sasun Folk Group.
Volume Six: Nagorno-Karabakh (13121) completes the series of folk music featuring the songs of the war torn Nagorno-Karabakh area performed by numerous laymen who are great virtuosos and remarkable artists.