Sunday, July 10, 2016

Alan Hovhaness - "Lady of Light" - Patricia Clark, Soprano - Leslie Fyson, Baritone - The Ambrosian Singers & Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Alan Hovhaness - "Avak, The Healer" Marni Nixon, Soprano - Thomas Stevens, Trumpet Crystal Chamber Orchestra, Ernest Gold - Crystal Records 1991

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!




Marcelo Lasta said...

Hola Tzadik queridooooooo,nunca escuché Avak del gran Hovhaness,muchas gracias,y espero que estes bien,un abrazo.Tapirman,siempre suyo.

cjvinthechair said...

Mmm - Avak's new ! Great, thanks.

Toon van Dijk said...

Many thanks and regards from The Netherlands.
Veel dank en groeten uit Nederland.

La Danse de Puck said...

Absolutely BRILLIANT music and singing!!! What a great composer Hovhaness was. And Marni Nixon is a welcome gift. She dubbed many Hollywood stars that could not sing!! To hear her in her own right is a true pleasure.. Thank for this wonderful discovery!

Tzadik said...

OOOPS I did it again, Cjv! (that is, posted something new to you)

It's a triumph every time, I tell you.

Toodle pip, old bean


Tzadik said...

Oh doctor T lo agradable saber que este AH es de la "región desconocida" para usted :-)
Disfrutar de mi hermano en el sonido!


Tzadik said...

You are as always most welcome Toon


Tzadik said...

La Danse de Puck, I am so happy that Hovhaness is 'doing it' for you - for me, discovering Alan Hovhaness a few decades back was an absolute life changer, and a life saver as well. I have to say I love your enthusiasm and it is much appreciated :)

Marni Nixon has been the vocalist a few other Hovhaness recordings, from the earlier days of AH's Poseidon Society record label. And yes, Nixon has offered up her gorgeous pipes for some gorgeous ladies of cinema and all of these films have musically been bettered from her artistry! Hmm I just might have to do a "soundtrack" day on here now that I think of it!



Jim said...

Well, this is slightly off subject but looking for the Alan Hovhaness: Symphony No.9 Op.80 (180) "St. Vartan" (1950). Sort of like an addiction - can't resist another.

Tzadik said...

Jim it's not off subject at all; you are requesting Hovhaness in a Hovhaness post. Seems reasonable ;)
I am going to post it soon....


La Danse de Puck said...

Tazdik, my dearest, I came here today when I learned that Marni Nixon has left our 3D world to ascend to the 5th Dimension!! She was 86. Told people about your post because it's good to have this here to remember her by! Thanks millions for your last post by Hovhaness... Another fantastic work! Your work here in keeping these works alive merits a special monument in a public square!! What would we do without you!!!