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Program Notes

Hymn to Yerevan

Alan Hovhaness, composer

One of many band works by Alan Hovhaness (1911-2000), this hymn is an intensely spiritual tribute to the ancient city of Yerevan, Armenia and Mount Ararat.

The ancient city of Yerevan, at the foot of majestic, towering Mount Ararat, is the home of Armenians who found refuge there from many massacres. The music, composed in the ancient fifth mode (“kimtza”) of the Armenian Church, is in Sharagan or Armenian Hymn style. A solemn contrapuntal motet expresses sorrow, strength and spiritual resurrection. A middle section, in free rhythmless chaos of bells and roaring trombones, celebrates a dauntless defiance of tragedy. The solemn contrapuntal hymn returns, heroic and triumphal.

—Alan Hovhaness


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