To introduce the subsequent audio system, Ghazarians turned to the totally different cultural influences on Hovhaness from South Asia and the Far East, India and Japan specifically. The primary to handle this theme was Dr. Craig Parker, professor of music historical past at Kansas State College. Parker is the creator of quite a few articles and has served on the advisory Board of Dictionary of American Music (2013) and was the Faculty Music Society Board Member for Musicology (2014-16). He’s the recipient of the Society for American Music Distinguished Service Quotation “in recognition of his sustained contributions to the society and its appreciation for nurturing our nationwide music.”
Dr. Parker characterised Hovhaness as a “musical polyglot,” one who may talk musical concepts in many alternative languages, from the modal sounds of Armenia to the ragas of India, and prevented atonal music. Throughout his research at Tufts College and the New England Conservatory, Dr. Parker stated, Hovhaness grew to become acquainted with Greek painter and mystic Hermon di Giovanno, who launched him to the music of Greece, Egypt and India. After assembly the older brother of sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar in Boston, Hovhaness grew to become extra keen on Indian music and determined to take up this classical Indian string instrument.
Hovhaness had studied his Armenian heritage, particularly via the music of Komitas, whereas he was working as choir director of the St. James Armenian Apostolic Church, and later, he associated this heritage to parts of the Asian musical tradition. In 1959-1960, he studied in India as a Fulbright Resident Scholar, and was the primary western composer on the Musical Competition on the Academy of Music in Madras in 1960.
His compositions, which mix various cultural parts, communicate a common language and may transport listeners into distant musical universes. Parker stated that his Symphony No. 8, composed in 1948, might have been primarily based on Armenian modal music, however was perceived by Indians as partaking of their musical tradition. He was the primary western composer for an Indian orchestra, and composed Indian ragas himself. His Symphony No. 7 Opus 178, impressed by the Himalayan mountain peaks, led one live performance attendee to exclaim that he had “introduced the Himalayan mountains to Pittsburgh.” His 1966 Symphony no. 19, the Vishnu, was stated to “flow into divine power all through the universe.” By the Sixties, largely via the efforts of Hovhaness, Indian music grew to become well-known in the USA.
His fascination with Japanese music took him additionally to Japan, the place he composed with Japanese-like melodies and Armenian themes.
Following Dr. Parker’s presentation, contributors heard a bit Hovhaness wrote in 1935. The composition for solo clarinet, Lament No. 2, Op. 25, was performed by Einar Jóhanneson from Iceland, in a recording from April 15 within the Reykjavik Cathedral.
The famend clarinetist is a graduate of Reykjavik Faculty of Music and the Royal Faculty of Music in London with Bernard Walton and John MacCaw. He’s the winner of a number of competitions amongst them Sir Yehudi Menuhin’s Dwell Music Now in 1976, and three years later the Sonning Prize for younger Nordic Soloists. He has appeared as soloist and chamber musician all around the world and recorded for varied radio and tv networks, usually presenting items particularly written for him. Einar Jóhanneson was principal clarinet of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra from 1980–2012 and is a founding member of the internationally acknowledged ensemble, the Reykjavik Wind Quintet.
Enriching Western Music from the East
The second speaker, Dr. W. Anthony Sheppard, picked up the place Dr. Parker had left off – in Japan. Dr. Sheppard is Marylin and Arthur Levitt Professor of Music at Williams Faculty. He’s the creator and editor of a number of books and articles and has served because the editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Musicological Society and is presently Sequence Editor of AMS Research in Music.
Dr. Sheppard stated that within the Nineteen Fifties and Sixties American and European composers grew to become keen on Japanese music, particularly historic ensemble music of the courtroom. Hovhaness stands out amongst them for his lively method, studying to play Japanese devices. In a letter he wrote to the Rockefeller Basis for a grant, Hovhaness expressed his intention to counterpoint western music with Japanese parts.
When he travelled to Japan in 1960, he studied 6 conventional devices. Collectively together with his spouse Hinako Fujihara, a virtuoso soprano, he would play gagaku, a conventional style of courtroom music, each evening. As at all times in his dialogues with a brand new musical tradition, he adopted the rules, however not the melodies, in his personal compositions. Dr. Sheppard pressured that whereas he drew on earlier musical traditions with Indian, Arabic or Japanese parts, his compositions at all times displayed his mark of originality. In Japan, it was not solely the music, but in addition historic websites, cultural occasions like NO theatre, and poetry that influenced his artistic output.
In 1962 he composed sonatas for the jho, a conventional Japanese wind instrument, and integrated associated musical parts, just like the sliding between pitches. In two orchestral works from 1964, he expressed the Japanese idea of adjustments via pitch clusters. The Japanese affect is current additionally in operas Hovhaness composed between 1959 and 1969, be it sure harmonic sequences or conventional drum rolls (which prefigured Benjamin Brittan’s use within the Sixties).
In discussing Hovhaness’s compositions on this interval, Dr. Sheppard spoke of a syncretic method, by which various parts come collectively; Hovhaness wrote Japanese and Indian ragas, works for Japanese devices, and developed “neo gagaku,” by which influences from India, Korea, Japan, Armenia and Indonesia play a job. There’s a non secular expression, a form of mysticism, that pervades the music all through.
To conclude this system, a bit which Hovhaness wrote again in 1944 was carried out, the primary motion from the Greek Rhapsody No. 1 Op 63. Launched by Ghazarians, famend pianist Alessandra Pompili performed with profound expression and sensitivity. She has carried out for years as a soloist to important and public acclaim in Italy, the UK, Hungary, Iceland, Germany, Poland and the US. Along with the normal repertoire, Alessandra is an advocate of the music of Alan Hovhaness usually performing and/or recording it as premières (for instance, Hovhaness’s Sonata Cougar Mountain op. 390 and Fantasy op.15).
Return to the Alma Mater
An acceptable conclusion to this tribute to Alan Hovhaness got here from Dr. Pasquale Tassone former director of music program of Arlington Excessive Faculty, which Hovhaness attended and graduated from in 1929. Tassone is a graduate of the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milan, has an honors diploma from the Chigiana Academy in Siena, Italy and a PhD from Brandeis College. He has composed a variety of items amongst them an opera, which have been carried out on main levels, and is the winner of a variety of nationwide and worldwide awards.
He started his collection of amusing anecdotes with the recollection of an occasion that befell within the previous alma mater he shared with Hovhaness. The well-known composer had obtained an invite to the highschool for a weekend music pageant, and Tassone was to conduct one in all his compositions, the Symphony for Band. On the finish of the piece, all was quiet. When Tassone circled, he discovered Hovhaness standing silently on stage. Tassone remembered that when the harpist didn’t present up, Hovhaness settled in on the piano and performed the harp half on the keyboard. He additionally remembered the restaurant they went to afterwards for lunch. Hovhaness stayed in Arlington for the entire weekend, and Tassone spoke admiringly of how gracious he had been to the scholars there.
Although 40 years handed and he had no additional direct contact with the composer, Tassone had a number of encounters with different those who concerned Hovhaness: it may need been a colleague he knew after his commencement from Brandeis, who had taken piano classes from the maestro; or his dentist, whose father had employed Hovhaness to play, again within the years when he was choir director at St. James church. In 2009, Tassone was a member of the committee set as much as sponsor a commemorative plaque for Hovhaness and composed a bit, Dzon (Ode) for the event, impressed by Hovhaness.
Now, it seems that Arlington Highschool, the place Tassone and Hovhaness accomplished their pre-college research, is to be torn down and rebuilt. What higher strategy to honor that faculty’s most well-known musical graduate, than to call the performing arts middle of the brand new constructing after him?
The Voice of the Artist
Alessandra Pompili provided closing remarks, by which she communicated the extremely ethical understanding of artwork that motivated Hovhaness and did so by letting him communicate. She referenced Symphony no. 11, All Males Are Brothers, which premiered in 1961, and skim a passage Hovhaness had quoted in his introduction to the rating: “And the voice of the Lord Buddha was heard just like the sound of an amazing gong hung within the skies, saying that although one met a thousand males on his manner they might all be one’s brothers.” The composer then wrote: “The symphony is an try to specific a constructive religion in common cosmic love as the one attainable final aim for man and nature. Let all unite in peace on our tiny planet, our floating village, our little house ship, as we journey throughout mysterious endlessness.”
Once more, letting us hear the phrases of the composer himself, she quoted from one in all his Guggenheim functions: “I suggest to create a heroic, monumental fashion of composition easy sufficient to encourage all individuals… It’s not my objective to produce just a few pseudo-intellectual musicians and critics with extra meals for good argumentation, however somewhat to encourage all mankind with new heroism and religious the Aristocracy. This will likely look like sentimental and unimaginable to some, but it surely have to be remembered that Palestrina, Handel and Beethoven wouldn’t contemplate it both sentimental or unimaginable. In actual fact, the worthiest artistic artwork has been motivated consciously or unconsciously by the need for the regeneration of mankind.”
Lastly, she learn from an interview he gave in 1971, by which he addressed the hazards of human self-destruction, and the rise up amongst youth in opposition to this hazard. Expressing his sympathy with the youthful era and on the similar time, rejecting any attraction to violence, Hovhaness said: “the older era is ruling ruthlessly. I really feel this can be a horrible menace to our civilization. It’s the greed of big firms and big organizations which management life in a form of brutal manner…. I hope one thing might be finished about it. It’s gotten worse and worse, one way or the other, as a result of bodily science has given us an increasing number of lethal weapons, and the human spirit has been destroyed in so many circumstances, so what’s the usage of having probably the most highly effective nation on the planet if we’ve killed the soul. It’s of no use.”
Such reflections by the composer, Pompili stated, exhibit why he’s so related. By way of the moral pressure thus created, Hovhaness makes clear what function music and artwork ought to play in our society.
If listening to his personal phrases introduced that moral pressure shut, experiencing the composer as musician heightened it much more. The night closed with maybe one in all Alan Hovhaness’s greatest identified items, Shalimar op. 177, performed by Alan Hovhaness himself in a 1988 video recording.