Armenia's leading composer, Tigran Mansurian, receives his third recording from ECM - an album comprising his first two string quartets and the short piece Testament, all performed by the acclaimed Rosamunde Quartet.
Tigran Mansurian's first two string quartets - a third was completed in 1992 - were composed in 1983 and in 1984 respectively. Both are instrumental requiems, written in response to the deaths of two close friends. Sounds of grief and lamentation are sublimated by the simple beauty of Mansurian's extremely reduced tone language. Far from being demonstrative, the lack of complexity allows for a rare clarity and organic fluency. As in most of Mansurian's works, the rhythmical and harmonic designs, even the melodic shapes are closely related to the intonation of his native language, the musical style being characterized by an organic blend of Armenian and western European traditions. Testament is a five-minute Lento, written in 2004 as a tribute to ECM-founder/producer Manfred Eicher.
Andreas Reiner - (violin), Simon Fordham - (violin), Helmut Nicolai - (viola), Anja Lechner - (cello)
About the Artist
One of the most important composers of his country, Tigran Mansurian was born in 1939 in Beirut to Armenian parents but has lived in Armenia since 1947. In 1990 Mansurian became director of the Komitas State conservatory, recently resigning to concentrate exclusively on composition. His extensive oeuvre comprises orchestral, chamber and vocal works. In 2003 ECM released 'Hayren' which included pieces by Mansurian played by Kim Kashkashian and Robyn Schulkowsky, followed in 2004 by the 2-CD set 'Monodia' featuring Kim Kashkashian, Jan Garbarek, Leonidas Kavakos, the Hilliard Ensemble and the Munich Chamber Orchestra under Christoph Poppen.
The Munich-based Rosamunde Quartet gave its acclaimed debut at the Berlin Festwochen in 1992. Their ECM recordings of Haydn, Webern, Shostakovich and Silvestrov (leggiero, pesante) won unanimous praise. A critical and popular success is their continuing collaboration with Argentinean bandoneon virtuoso Dino Saluzzi, which began in 1998 with 'Kultrum'.