Flights of Imagination

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Program: #17-05   Air Date: Jan 22, 2017

Ancient Scandinavia, Armenian liturgy, and a reimagining of Orpheus.

 I. Mother of Light: Armenian hymns and chants in praise of Mary (Isabel Bayrakdarian, s./ Ani Aznavoorian, ce./Coro Vox Aeterna/Anna Hamre). Delos CD DE 3521.

Soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian is internationally recognized for her shimmering voice and her accomplishments on the stage and the screen. For her newest project, she has chosen to create a hypnotic album of Armenian sacred music, beautifully displaying a spiritual aspect of her musical persona. This project was conceived by Bayrakdarian as a gift to God for sparing the life of her mother. The whole album is a family affair- her husband arranged the works, her brother plays ceremonial percussion, and her two sisters join her to form a vocal trio on several of the tracks. “The evening really belonged to Bayrakdarian, the satin beauty, whose voice carried all before it. No, that doesn’t say it all: Her voice is one of the most engaging and congenial in the world today.”

Baghdasar Tbir (1683-1768): Zartir Nazeli (Arise, Graceful One) (4:27)
Anonymous (medieval): Khngi Dzarin (Frankincense Tree) (3:52)
Ara Bartevian (1902-1986): Mayr Yev Gouys (Immaculate Mother) (2:58)
Hampartsoum Limondjian (1768-1839): Hamemad Kez (Incomparable One) (4:57)
Anonymous (medieval): Varaneem (Burdened with Sins) (4:35)
Anonymous (medieval): Avedis Kez Mariyam (Good Tidings to You, Mary) (4:34)
St. Gregory of Nareg (951- 1003): Aghers ar Diramayr (Plea to Mother of God)* (5:06)
St. Gregory of Nareg: Diramayrn (Mother of the Lord) (2:50)
Anonymous (medieval): Badjar yev Sgizpn (Cause and Origin) (3:47)
Movses Khorenatsi (410-490): Zandjareli Looso Mayr (Mother of Light) (2:39)
Movses Khorenatsi: Sharaganner (Sharagans from Holy Week) (2:46)
Gomidas Vartabed (1869-1935): Asdvadzadzin Yergnayin (Divine Mother of God) (1:30)
Anonymous (medieval): Zgousoutyount Ko (O Pure God Bearer)* (1:26)
St. Nerses Shnorhali (1102-1173): Aysor Joghovyal (The Saints Are Gathered) (2:51)
Vartan Areveltsi (1198-1271): Antaram Dzaghig (Eternal Flower) (2:56)
Anonymous (18th-19th century): Panin Hor (Word of the Father) (4:10)
Anonymous (18th-19th century): Oor es Mayr Im (Where Are You, My Mother?)* (6:16)

II. Ice and Longboats: Ancient Music of Scandinavia (Ake & Jens Egevad/Ensemble Mare Balticum). Delphian CD DCD34181.

Ice and Longboats: Ancient Music of Scandinavia by Ake & Jens Egevad

Scandinavia’s archaeologically known prehistory encompasses around twelve thousand years, culminating in the Viking period (c.800–1050AD). The Middle Ages then followed, around six hundred years later than in continental Europe – a late development due to the long period in which ice still covered Europe’s northern parts. Volume 2 in Delphian Records’ groundbreaking collaboration with the European Music Archaeology Project constructs a soundscape of these two periods, featuring both music improvised on Viking instruments, and notated songs and instrumental items from the early centuries of Christianity in Scandinavia.

EMAP brings together partners from seven European countries to research, explore and bring to life the music of ancient cultures, from 40,000 BC to the present day. Through a series of
international exhibitions, visitors will also have the chance to see and touch these intriguing instruments, allowing us to understand more fully the crucial role played by music in ancient societies.

1 Drømde mik en drøm (recorder) [01:14]
2 Signals to the Aesir Gods [05:16]
3 In the Village: musical pastimes [01:31]
4 In the Village 2: evening [02:25]
5 Mith hierthæ brendher [02:39]
6 Sequentia: Lux illuxit [05:53]
7 Cantio: Scribere proposui [02:10]
8 Drømde mik en drøm (bells) [00:47]
9 Ramus virens olivarum [06:13]
10 Drømde mik en drøm (duet) [01:26]
11 Drømde mik en drøm (harp) [01:21]
12 Drømde mik en drøm (symphony) [01:03]
13 Nobis est natus hodie – In natali Domini [01:51]
14 Estampie ‘Ferro transecuit’ [03:11]
15 Estampie ‘Pax patrie’ [03:12]
16 Rondellus: Ad cantus laetitiae [01:48]
17 Mith hierthæ brendher (instrumental) [01:48]
18 Melody from Hultebro [02:18]
19 The Warrior with his Lyre [01:26]
20 Gethornslåt [01:09]
21 Grímur á Miðalnesi [01:13]
22 Jesus Christus nostra salus [06:00]
23 Nobilis humilis [04:53]
24 Gaudet mater ecclesia [03:36]
25 Antiphona: Hostia grata Deo [01:16]
26 Antiphona: Ferro transecuit [01:12]
27 Improvisation on ‘Gaudet mater ecclesia’ [01:09]
28 Sancta Anna, moder Christ [01:48]
29 Sequentia: Diem festum veneremur [06:25]

III. orfeo chamán (L’arpeggiata/Christina Pluhar) Erato CD 0190295969677.

A unique retelling of the Orpheus myth drawing on Baroque music and folksongs from South America to Sicily, with a real-life Orfeo – the blind Argentinean singer-guitarist Nahuel Pennisi – in the title role. The resulting opera composed and arranged by Christina Pluhar reveals the mysterious shamanic side of the legendary musician who ventures into the underworld for love. The album is accompanied by a bonus DVD: the complete filmed performance of the vibrantly staged opera at the Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santo Domingo, Bogotá, Colombia.

From The ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice has had rich resonances in the modern world, ranging from balladry to the play by Vinícius de Moraes and its spectacular film adaptation. The latest entry into this tradition is Orfeo Chamán, composed and led in performance by theorbist Christina Pluhar. Like Moraes, Pluhar sets her Orpheus story in Latin America and draws on non-European belief systems: in Moraes' case Afro-Brazilian, in Pluhar's pre-Columbian. The work's title means Orpheus Shaman, and instead of going to the underworld to search for his Eurydice, he enters a world populated by the souls of inanimate objects. Although it's been called an opera and has been staged as one, Orfeo Chamán only occasionally reflects the action of the text, by Colombian poet Hugo Chaparro Valderrama. Instead, the work consists of a series of set pieces with little climaxes of strong emotion; "cantata" would be a better word for it. There are four solo parts, for Orpheus, Eurydice, Orpheus' half-brother Aristaeus, and a nahual, a figure in South American beliefs who can accompany a human visiting the spirit world. Most interesting is the mix of genres in Pluhar's music, which somewhat resembles the combination of Baroque and popular materials in some of Jordi Savall's recordings, but consists entirely of original material except for a few traditional dance tunes. This is an accomplishment in itself; you might easily think you were listening to material hundreds of years old, and the range of music Pluhar has mastered is impressive. The accompaniments, from ensemble ground bass pieces to simple folk harmonies, are likewise strikingly varied yet coherent. The end result is a work that catches the ear and then stays in the brain as you begin to appreciate just how difficult it was to pull off.

Prolog: La selva (Christina Pluhar)

+Act 1: O eterno (Christina Pluhar)

+Act 2: Passacaglia di Euridice (Christina Pluhar); Habra una ninfa (Christina Pluhar); Romance de la luna tucumana (Atahualpa Yupanqui / Pedro Aznar / Nahuel Pennisi); Pajarillo (Traditional Venezuela); Zumba che zumba (Traditional Venezuela), Aristeo intento (Christina Pluhar); Cubramonos con cenizas (Christina Pluhar)

+Act 3: Sinfonia (Giovanni Battista Pederzuoli); Cirene, madre (Christian Ritter / Christina Pluhar)

+Act 4: Esta barca (Christina Pluhar); Si me escuchara (Christina Pluhar); Sigue bebiendo (Christina Pluhar); Aparicion de Euridice (Traditional Mexico / Christina Pluhar); Lamento de Orfeo (Simon Diaz / Christina Pluhar)

+Act 5: Bucimis (Traditional Bulgarien); La cabeza de Orfeo (Christina Pluhar)

Composer Info

Baghdasar Tbir (1683-1768), Ara Bartevian (1902-1986), Hampartsoum Limondjian (1768-1839), St. Gregory of Nareg (951- 1003), Movses Khorenatsi (410-490), Gomidas Vartabed (1869-1935), St. Nerses Shnorhali (1102-1173), Vartan Areveltsi (1198-1271), Christina Pluhar, Giovanni Battista Pederzuoli, Atahualpa Yupanqui , Pedro Aznar , Nahuel Pennis, Christian Ritter, Simon Diazi

CD Info

CD DE 3521, CD DCD34181, Erato CD 0190295969677.