NEW YORK–A new CD–a musical tribute to the martyrs of 1915–was recently issued by the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America. Entitled, Yerkabsag (Wreath of Songs), the CD was recorded in Armenia on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, with the well-known musicologist Krikor Pidedjian directing the Chamber Choir of Yerevan and the Alan Hovhaness Chamber Orchestra. It is a compilation of national songs written in the spirit of remembrance, martyrdom, and struggle.
As explained in the booklet accompanying the CD, the Prelacy deemed it appropriate to mass produce this “wreath of songs” in lieu of a wreath of flowers to honor the martyrs. The fifteen selections on the CD are: Der Zor; To the Martyrs of Genocide; Have Compassion, O Lord; Song of Exile; The Lament of Adana; Ani; In Memory of Aram Aramian; Song of the Fedayee; O, God of Armenia’s; O Vasbouragan, A Dream; Welcome Back, Crane; Awaken my Son; With My Motherland; Giligia.
Krikor Pidedjian is known throughout the Diaspora and Armenia and recognized as one of the most talented musicologists. Born and raised in a family of musicians and music lovers, at a young age he became a member of Garbis Aprikian’s choir, where he began to appreciate Armenian Classical music.
He became immersed in national and church music at the Seminary of the Great House of Cilicia, where he studied with musicologist Hampartzoum Berberian. Subsequently, he studied theory, composition and piano at the Conservatory of Beirut, and he took on the role of choirmaster at the Cathedral of St. Gregory the Illuminator in Antelias, Lebanon. In New York he earned a degree in conducting from the Mannes College of Music, and a Masters’ Degree from Hunter College. In 1962 he organized the Kousan Chorus in New York and presented concerts for many years to appreciative audiences.
Maestro Pidedjian has directed many choruses in various places for decades. He has written scholarly monographs, as well as many books including Anzink Nuviryalk (Devoted Persons); Armenian Songs of Exile; The Place of Armenian Revolutionary Songs in Armenian Music; Armenian Diction; The Chants of the Armenian Church; Was Krikor Narekatzi a Composer of Hymns?; and many articles.
The booklet accompanying this CD includes the words of all the songs in Armenian and English translation. The CD is available at the Prelacy Bookstore for $15.00, plus $3.00 for shipping and handling. For information contact the Bookstore by email at [email protected] or by phone at 212-689-7810.