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BBC dedicates article to enduring influence of Komitas

15:11, October 21

The British publication BBC Classical Music published an article dedicated to the Armenian composer and collector of folk songs Komitas (Soghomon Soghomonyan), who fell victim to the events of 1915 in the Ottoman Empire.

“His output was very modest – 80 choral works and songs, arrangements of the Armenian Mass, a few dances for piano – yet he is universally regarded by Armenians as the founding father of their classical tradition,"  BBC Music Magazine’s Michael Church noted.

“When Armenians around the world gather on 24 April, Armenian Genocide Memorial Day, to commemorate the 1.5 million of their countrymen slaughtered by Turks in 1915, it’s Komitas’s songs they sing. In a memorable YouTube clip from last autumn’s Armenian-Azerbaijani war, an Armenian cellist plays a haunting Komitas melody in a ruined Armenian church. For Armenians, music is memory, and in times of trouble Komitas speaks for the nation,” the article adds.

“During his brief period of celebrity in Berlin and Paris – before the Genocide swallowed him up – one of his most fervent admirers was Debussy, who declared after a Komitas concert that on the basis of one single song he deserved to be recognized as a great composer. And it’s significant that eminent pianists reverentially perform Komitas’s little piano suite,” Michael Church noted.

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