Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Alan Hovhaness (1911-2000) was an American composer born in Massachusetts to an Armenian chemistry professor and a mother of Scottish descent - more here. His ancestry and interest in Asian music give his music plenty of exotic sound.
The album I'm sharing here with David Amos conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra, not currently in circulation, contains an excellent introduction to his work. It features And God Created Great Whales, scored for orchestra and recorded whale song. It is inspiring to hear whales in such a setting, since the language of whales is something we're not privy to. There is a kind of awe that emanates from the music that accentuates the strange sounds.
The other pieces include Concerto No. 8 for Orchestra, Elibris (Dawn God of Urardu), Alleluia and Fugue, and Anahid - all beautiful stuff. I always feel transported to distant places when I hear these pieces, particularly by the woodwinds. From here, other compositions to explore are the Mt. St. Helens and Mysterious Mountain symphonies, just two among hundreds of his works. Check out Amazon; there are plenty of recordings and reviews to peruse. In the mean time, enjoy.
Download here (no password):