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Sharounag Op20

Composer's note

Sharounag means ‘continuing’ or ‘continuous’. There are several dimensions to this title:

  • after a silence of seven years, I found myself composing again;
  • the music is continuous, leading from one theme to another;
  • and it is an affirmative encouragement to keep going.

The piece uses several folk songs, a church melody, a Duduk melody of Jivan Gasparyan, and a brief quotation from Alan Hovhaness. I have known and loved one of the folk songs for 31 years; while others were introduced to me recently by my friend, Elia (or Yeghia in Armenian) Cozalian. I briefly met Alan Hovhaness in London during the 1979 Festival of Armenian music.

A motto chord opens and closes this piece, occurring at a few points inbetween. Soon, various Armenian song fragments are heard in succession and combination, as well as two unifying ingredients: chains of rising and falling fourths, and thirds. Later, an extended, decorated melody is heard, emulating the music of the Düdük, - a double-reed wind instrument. Beginning with a return of the motto chord, a recitative-like section gathers power and momentum with new material, then melts into an ostinato accompaniment. Above the chains of pedal fourths and left hand thirds, a folk melody contains a delightful touch of hemiola. The time-signature alters with the arrival of a vigorous melodic motif. As always, this is combined with other song fragments. The music subsides to a more lyrical passage, both hands in two-part canon, with ever-widening pedal phrases.

Duration: about 14 minutes

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