(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Pianist Armen Donelian will showcase his unique solo piano arrangements of selected songs of the 18th-century Armenian composer Sayat-Nova in advance of an upcoming CD release weaving Armenian, classical and jazz elements live in concert in The Songs of Sayat-Nova at the Hudson Opera House on Saturday, January 5, 2013, at 8pm. Of Armenian heritage himself, the pianist – who is also a composer and who plays jazz, classical, ethnic and avant-garde music – has spent time studying music in Armenia and the greater region as a Fulbright Scholar.
Sayat-Nova (1712-1795) was born in Armenia, although he claimed Tblisi, Georgia, as his motherland. He was a self-taught troubadour singing love songs and playing the kamanche, changur and tar and a composer of hundreds of poems of the first order in six languages. He entertained the court of King Irakli II of Georgia from 1742 to 1759 when he was dismissed under clouded circumstances (most likely for professing love for the King’s sister), took holy orders and was banished to a remote monastery at Anzal (now in Iran).
He returned to the Tblisi region in 1765 and in 1768 entered the Haghpat monastery where he died in 1795 at the hands of the raiders of the Persian tyrant Agha Muhammad Khan Kajar, just a few meters from his birth place of Sanahin.
Sayat-Nova’s songs rank highest within Armenian literature among Armenians worldwide. By virtue of his compositions in the three main languages of the Caucasus, he is a symbol for the Transcaucasian harmony that he believed in. Culturally at home with Armenian, Georgian and Azeri, singing like a nightingale in all their tongues and on all their themes, Christian and Muslim, Sayat-Nova showed what could be a reality – a bridge of song between worlds, and a path to peace in that afflicted region.
Tickets for the concert are $15, $12 members, students & seniors