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.