I meant to post a 3rd recording of Hovhaness's Magnificat setting on Crystal Records after my last Hovhaness post of the Magnificat on Delos Records. Also included on the Crystal disc is a recording of the wonderful "Saturn" for Clarinet, Soprano and Piano. Hopefully I will be able to locate is soon.
Here we get two choral/orchestral works, the large-scale "Lady Of Light" (conducted by Hovhaness) which is 43 minutes in duration as well as "Avak, The Healer" which is half the length. Both pieces are full of gorgeous music but I prefer "Avak The Healer", which is sung here by the great soprano Marni Nixon. I think that this is the first time that this recording has been shared on a blog, or anywhere else.
This is what Hovhaness had to say about this program:
"I composed words and music of Lady of Light in 1968. The story was influenced by the "Chalabala" legend, a kind of Swiss version of the "Pied Piper of Hamlin". I composed the music in Grand Opera style. It was my protest against war. The two outside pieces, numbers 1 and 18, are like two luminous pillars representing Nirvana or that which is beyond earthly existence. Each pillar is in the same three-part form - aria, choral fugue, aria. Between the two pillars hangs the dark tale of the dance of love and love's martyrdom.
The Overture to Avak, the Healer was composed in 1945. I conducted it on March 10, 1946, in an all-Hovhaness program in Boston. The program notes describing the Overture called it a three-part form like the Japanese Jo-ha-kyu form. The three sections, or steps, may be called "the sorrow", "the mysterious way" and "the blessing". The greater the emotional intensity, the greater the simplicity. This is not "intellectual" music but pieces of pure feeling. The trumpet symbolizes the voice of the inspired messenger, the cantor, the singer-prophet. The strings express the prayer of the people. The text and cantata were composed in 1946 and performed in New York on February 7, 1947. These are four songs of spiritual healing with a processional-like intermezzo."
-If anyone wants all of the texts to these works let me know; it will take quite a while to type out so I won't be doing that now!
If I have the time to post more later I will; as always I cannot promise!