From DELOS, a new release: Divine Liturgy by the composer Komitas, offers a rare sampling of the liturgical music of the Armenian people.
The hour-long work – performed in this recording by the superb Latvian Radio Choir conducted by Sigvards Klava – introduces the listener to the hauntingly exotic music of the 19th century priest and multi-talented musician Soghomon Soghomonian, known in his country by his given priestly name of Vardapet Komitas.
Widely regarded as a pillar of Armenian music and revered by his people as a national hero, Komitas survived the Armenian Genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire only to tragically die in a Paris mental hospital.
Komitas composed music imbued with Eastern melody, intriguing harmonies, and complex counterpoint. His uncanny gift for exploring how choral singing can induce a state of deep spiritual calm eventually conducive to reflection and religious ecstasy is present in this one of a kind album, beautifully produced, engineered and annotated by DELOS.
Originally created for an all-male choir, this recording arranged for a mixed choir will deservedly begin to divulge the glories of this music from the remote Republic of Armenia to a wider audience than the congregation of faithful for which it was originally conceived.
Rafael de Acha