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American Mystic - Music of Alan Hovhaness

Hovhaness / Butler / York / Seso / Schwarz
Release Date: 10/25/2011 
Label:  Delos   Catalog #: 3421   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Alan Hovhaness
Performer:  Charles ButlerDiane SchmidtMichael York
Conductor:  Gerard SchwarzKeith Brion
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Symphony OrchestraOhio State University Concert BandShanghai String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 16 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Heralded by a New York Times article honoring the centenary year of Hovhaness’ birth, Delos celebrates this wonderfully eclectic “American Mystic’s” glowing niche in the pantheon of American musical history from a new angle: Hovhaness as a composer of what we now call “World Music” though on a more exalted plane than most of that genre’s content.

We call Hovhaness a “mystic” largely due to his insatiable curiosity about pan-global musical traditions: primarily exotic sounding middle- and far-Eastern modes, scales and rhythms that, owing to their alien impact upon Western ears, tend to convey mystically spiritual impressions. On top of his own Armenian musical roots, he compulsively explored the music of other Arabic regions
Read more as well as the traditions of India, Japan, Korea and Indonesia, absorbing them all into his overall musical consciousness, to be tapped at need to suit his unique creative designs. Accordingly, Delos has combed through its many distinguished previous recordings of Hovhaness’ music to find the individual works that best support such a World Music classification. And everything fits: Like that of many current world music artists, the music of Hovhaness blends disparate musical influences and impulses in musical fusions that are framed by Western contexts of sound, form and instrumentation. - Delos

R E V I E W S:

"This year [2011] is the centennial of Hovhaness’s birth, and for the occasion Delos Records just released a commemorative CD of some of his most important orchestral and chamber works, called “American Mystic: Music of Alan Hovhaness...from childhood Hovhaness had been immersed in the work of Komitas Vartabed, an Armenian priest and musicologist of the late 19th century who specialized in the medieval liturgical and folk music of his homeland in the Caucasus. In the world of mainstream American classical music, however, Hovhaness, who died in 2000, was —and remains an outlier. At a time when dissonance, serialism and other styles were in vogue and many of his colleagues were writing works meant to be both modern and specifically American, Hovhaness embraced tonality and also showed a fondness for archaic elements like the polyphony of Renaissance music and the counterpoint of Baroque fugues...his music could also be deeply spiritual, a quality on display in well-known works like his Symphony No. 2, called “Mysterious Mountain,” and his “Prayer of St. Gregory,” both of which feature soaring trumpet and meditative string parts."

- Larry Rohter, New York Times Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 2, Op. 132 "Mysterious Mountain" by Alan Hovhaness
Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1955; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/1993 
Venue:  Seattle Opera House, Washington 
Length: 17 Minutes 0 Secs. 
2.
And God Created Great Whales, Op. 229 by Alan Hovhaness
Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1970; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/1993 
Venue:  Seattle Opera House, Washington 
Length: 12 Minutes 14 Secs. 
3.
Prayer of St Gregory, Op. 62b by Alan Hovhaness
Performer:  Charles Butler (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/1993 
Venue:  Seattle Opera House, Washington 
Length: 4 Minutes 45 Secs. 
4.
The Flowering Peach, Op. 125: Suite by Alan Hovhaness
Conductor:  Keith Brion
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ohio State University Concert Band
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1954; USA 
5.
Quartet for Strings no 2, Op. 147: Gamelan in Sosi Style by Alan Hovhaness
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Shanghai String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1951; USA 
6.
Quartet for Strings no 2, Op. 147: Spirit Murmur by Alan Hovhaness
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Shanghai String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1951; USA 
7.
Bagatelles (4) for String Quartet, Op. 30 by Alan Hovhaness
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Shanghai String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1964; USA 
8.
The rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Op. 282 by Alan Hovhaness
Performer:  Diane Schmidt (Accordion), Michael York (Spoken Vocals)
Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1975; USA 

Sound Samples

Prayer of St. Gregory, Op. 62b
Rubaiyat, Op. 308
4 Bagatelles, Op. 30: No. 1. -
4 Bagatelles, Op. 30: No. 2. -
4 Bagatelles, Op. 30: No. 3. -
4 Bagatelles, Op. 30: No. 4. -
Symphony No. 2, Op. 132, "Mysterious Mountain": I. Andante con moto
Symphony No. 2, Op. 132, "Mysterious Mountain": II. Double Fugue
Symphony No. 2, Op. 132, "Mysterious Mountain": III. Andante espressivo
String Quartet No. 2, Op. 147: V. Gamelan in Sosi Style
String Quartet No. 2, Op. 147: I. Spirit Murmur
The Flowering Peach, Op. 125: I. Overture
The Flowering Peach, Op. 125: II. Lifting of Voices
The Flowering Peach, Op. 125: II. Building of the Ark
The Flowering Peach, Op. 125: III. Intermezzo
The Flowering Peach, Op. 125: IV. Rain
The Flowering Peach, Op. 125: V. Love Song
The Flowering Peach, Op. 125: VI. Sun and Moon
The Flowering Peach, Op. 125: VII. Rainbow Hymn
And God Created Great Whales, Op. 229, No. 1

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Inspiring March 3, 2014 By Lily H. (Salt Lake City, UT) See All My Reviews "This album is an eclectic mix of some of Hovhannes' great compositions. The Seattle Symphony and the Ohio State University Concert Band have created clear and masterful renditions. There are similarities in emotional renditions with Ralph Vaughn Williams...easy to listen to..relaxing with beautiful melodies." Report Abuse
 Bad production July 9, 2013 By L. Stump (Las Vegas, NV) See All My Reviews "Had to return this one. Too loud to too soft. Transitions poor." Report Abuse
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