New Release

Komitas: Piano Compositions

Lusine Grigoryan   Piano

Catalogue number:
ECM 2514




Complete in itself, the ECM debut of Armenian pianist Lusine Grigoryan can also be considered a related volume to the Gurdjieff Ensemble’s critically-acclaimed album of Komitas’s music (ECM 2451), and was recorded at the same session in Lugano, directed by Manfred Eicher. The two albums cast light on Komitas’s music from different directions. Where Levon Eskenian’s versions with the Gurdjieff Ensemble explored the composer’s sonic inspirations with folk instruments, Lusine Grigoryan conveys some of the same colours with her wide palette of piano articulation and her exploration of timbral possibilities: in her playing one can catch some of the textures of the folk instruments that captured Komitas’s imagination. As Paul Griffiths observes in the liner text, “In Lusine Grigoryan, Komitas’s piano music has an interpreter deeply versed not just in what is on the page but in the whole folk music background. Her legato phrasing might suggest the duduk, her staccatos the tar; drums and zurna are here, too, together with a folk-like flexibility of rhythm. She also achieves a mysterious presence in her playing such as is typical of rural or ritual music.”

Komitas Vardapet (1869-1935) is revered as the instigator of contemporary music in Armenia. Composer, ethnomusicologist, singer and priest, he explored the full range of his country’s musical history and wrote music that found points of contact between sacred and secular tradition. His piano pieces are mostly based upon Armenian folk songs and dances.

The “Seven Songs” of the album title form the sequence Yot Yerg, composed in 1911. They consist both of appeals to Nature and descriptions of it. Msho Shoror, “a vast dance scene” inspired by the mountain region of Sasun, is also comprised of seven movements, while Yot Par takes the form seven dances, each evoking the sonority of Armenian folk instruments.

Lusine Grigoryan

One of Armenia's preeminent pianists, Lusine Grigoryan was born in Gyumri and studied at the Yerevan State Komitas Conservatory under the direction of Professor Robert Shugarov.
Her CD album, on the prestigious German label ECM Records, entitled Komitas: Seven Songs has been widely acclaimed.

Grigoryan's solo concerts, performed on stages throughout Europe, America, the Middle East and Australia, have generated enthusiastic critical praise. As a soloist she has performed at many prestigious festivals and concert halls, including the Holland Festival in Amsterdam, the Bozar Center for Fine Arts in Belgium, the Nostalgia Festival in Poland, the Canberra International Music Festival in Australia, the Gulbenkian hall in Lisbon and others.

International media are repeatedly touched by her performances.

"Her subtle pedaling, sparkling trills, and delicate touch throughout the works held the audience in thrall."
"She has the ability to display the composer's musical language and bring the important lines to the foreground; her performances are expressed by a permanent peace without unnecessary colors and emotions."

Grigoryan's unique interpretations of classical music, conveyed through a repertoire ranging from early Baroque to Contemporary, are complemented by an equally vast awareness of folk music traditions, which grants her insights into the works of classical composers whose pieces were informed by folk traditions. Thoroughly researching the works of Komitas and Bela Bartók also from this perspective. Her interpretation of Komitas' works has been praised both for its originality and its faithfulness to the composer’s vision.