Conceived jointly by violinist Movses Pogossian and violist Kim Kashkashian on the occasion of Tigran Mansurian's 80th birthday, the Con anima project brings together a dedicated cast of players to perform the chamber music of Armenia's great contemporary composer. The emphasis is on newer pieces - only the Third String Quartet dates from the 20th century - but there is a timeless quality to Mansurian's work, all of which resounds with the spirit of his homeland. "Mansurian's works are full of signifiers that come from Armenian ornaments, paintings or stones," writes Elena Dubinets in the CD notes. "His music itself feels as if it was carved out of stone." It can seem both ancient and modern at once, as it carefully explores and reveals relationships between contemporary Western composition and Armenia's sacred and secular music traditions. These characteristics are immediately evident in Agnus Dei, dedicated to the memory of Russian violinist Oleg Kagan. Here, violin, clarinet and cello sing against a sparse piano backdrop, in a piece whose form conveys the melos of Armenian spiritual music.
Tigran Hamasyan plays EFG London Jazz Festival livestream and reminds us that there is a world elsewhere / London JazzNews
"It's been a while since I've played a concert," said Armenian pianist/composer Tigran Hamasyan. The intimacy of the dark studio in California, where he recorded a solo set specially for the Festival, seemed to suit him, as if he was communing with himself. Novelist Jonathan Franzen famously wrote blindfolded in the dark to keep his mind "free of all cliches." As Hamasyan played his intensely ori...