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Hovhaness: Celestial Gate and Other Orchestral Works Import

6 customer reviews

Price: CDN$ 29.95
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Aug. 29 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Telarc
  • ASIN: B000003D0V
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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1. Celestial Gate
2. Prelude And Quadruple Fugue, Op. 128 For Orchestra
3. Tzaikerk, 'Evening Song'
4. Prayer Of Saint Gregory
5. Alleluia And Fugue, Op. 40b
6. I. Allegretto
7. II. Jhala: Allegro
8. III. Double Fugue: Allegretto

Product Description

Alan Hovhaness is an Armenian American composer whose music knows no end to experiments with styles, modes, and even instrumentation. But the core of his work seems to be mystical, as in Symphony 6 Celestial Gate based on a painting by the mystic Hermon de Giovanno. His Concerto for Orchestra, No. 7 is a 1953 work with Hindustan elements in it; but like a true concerto for orchestra, it makes its rounds to all the instruments. Tzaikerk, or Evening Song, is for flute, violin, timpani and string orchestra is heavily influenced by Korean (or Asian) music. This is a diverse collection by one of our best. --Paul Cook

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Alan Hovhaness was born on March 8th of 1911. Around 1940, after studies at the New England Conservatory of Music, he was appointed to the position of organist at an Armenian church near Boston. An inner prompting, around that same time, led to an intensive study of Oriental music, philosophy and religion. These two strong spiritual influences helped to contribute to a mystical disposition in both Mr. Hovhanness's life and in his abundant artistic creations.
The following may help to describe three of the major pieces on this Telarc disc:
"Celestial Gate" was completed in the year 1959. In this piece, Hovhaness describes an interior journey of many years duration, which culminated in the passage, through a 'mental gate', into a spiritual realm of expansive satiating presence. We are invited, through this translation into sound by conductor Rudolf Werthen and The Orchestra of Flanders, to know once again this welcoming spiritual state, in the act of listening to this wonderfully sensual recording.
"Concerto No. 7" was composed between August and October of 1953. A wealth of themes are introduced and woven together during the three movements. As the composer notes: "In the course of it's twenty-four minute duration all unnecessary elements are removed - only a voluptuous essence remains".
The "Prayer of Saint Gregory" is an excerpt from a Hovhanness Opera, conceived in 1946 and titled "Etchmiadzin". As the composer notes: "This music is like a prayer for mutuality and tender emotional reciprocity amidst melancholy social isolation".
The music of Hovhaness remains, to this day, a vehicle for the expression of delicate aesthetic mysteries and it's fine emotional qualities will be embraced by artists and audiences of varying social backgrounds. May you find, in the broad swirling orchestral notes of these performances, the deep blue dance of graceful spiritual release.
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By A Customer on Oct. 11 2001
Make no mistake, Hovhaness is a MAJOR American 20th century composer, but because his music didn't sound American he was not promoted like, say, Copland or Bernstein. Although much of his music sounded Eastern this disc contains at least three Western-sounding gems. Symphony No.6 and Concerto No.7 both display music of deep feeling and serenity. Although easily accessible, beneath their surfaces lurk musical intricacies too subtle for space here. Hovhaness's overriding concern is evidently for beauty and serenity but without cloying or stagnating. The Prelude and Quadruple Fugue is an acknowledged contrapuntal tour-de-force, written in his twenties. Let's sum-up by saying (as one critic did) that this music is "moments of tranquility in a chaotic world". Refreshing music of the utmost integrity.
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The CD cover art - a bright light shining boldly from deep in space - is an apt visual description of the music on this beautiful and graceful CD. It's the first Hovhaness CD I purchased, and I have bought many more since. Alan Hovhaness was an inspired genius, and not afraid to blaze his own path. In some respects, he reminds me of Jean Sibelius, another of my favorites, for his love of natural beauty and hints of eastern mysticism. The 5 minute Prayer of Saint Gregory alone is worth the price of the CD. I can't write very well about music I like - it's like describing wine and sounding snooty - but if you like to think, be surprised, and transported, then Hovhaness is your man. And this CD is a great place to start.
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