Soghomon Soghomonian, ordained and commonly known as Komitas, (Armenian: Կոմիտաս; 26 September 1869 – 22 October 1935) was an Armenian priest, musicologist, composer, arranger, singer, and choirmaster, who is considered the founder of Armenian national school of music. He is recognized as one of the pioneers of ethnomusicology.
From the title it's fairly obvious that Stanko is dedicating this work to his former boss and compatriot, the late Kryzsztof Komeda, who had passed a few years before. But it's difficult to believe that this was recorded in 1970. Stanko's quintet was so fully versed in the free jazz aesthetic and pursued to fuse it to the European classicism and avant-gardism of his native Poland. There are five tracks here, all part of a larger suite that is opened and closed by a theme. Stanko's writing is for a large harmonic palette realizable by two saxophones and his own trumpet with a rhythm section.
Athens-born and Munich-based composer Konstantia Gourzi makes her ECM New Series label debut. “What historical voices commingle in the current idiom of a composer whose cultural roots lie in the birthplace of rhetoric, but who emigrated to take a musical apprenticeship in European constructivism?” asks Ingrid Allwardt in the liner notes.
With this recording, Iakovos Kolanian sets a new standard in the interpretation and performance of Armenian music in the Classical idiom. What he presents here to the listener is not an ordinary transcription of this material for the classical guitar but, rather, a meditation on these choice Armenian folk tunes that is the fruit of many years of study, reflection and refinement. Owing to an almost instinctive feel for this music, he bestows each individual piece with a unique touch that has been shaped by his solid grounding in the traditions of the Spanish guitar, his devotion to the music of J. S. Bach and, of course, his natural affinity for Komitas. Aside from his breathtaking virtuosity, however, it is ultimately the musical refinement and emotional depth that distinguishes Kolanian's playing. The gems that he has created with this recording deserve to be treasured, and are sure to become a reference, for many years to come. -Kevork Imirzian …
If Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians is simply described in terms of its materials and organization – 11 chords followed by 11 pieces built on those chords – then it might seem utterly dry and monotonous. The actual music, though, is far from lackluster. When this recording was released in 1978, the impact on the new music scene was immediate and overwhelming. Anyone who saw potential in minimalism and had hoped for a major breakthrough piece found it here. The beauty of its pulsing added-note harmonies and the sustained power and precision of the performance were the music's salient features; and instead of the sterile, electronic sound usually associated with minimalism, the music's warm resonance was a welcome change. Yet repeated listening brought out a subtle and important shift in Reich's conception: the patterns were no longer static repetitions moving in and out of phase with each other, but were now flexible units that grew organically and changed incrementally over the course of the work.