August 2011  Hovhaness Concerto No.1 Arevakal available as mp3 download


Alan Hovhaness Arevakal (Concerto No.1 for Orchestra)

Soundmark Records has released a sixth 'mp3 album' of interest to Hovhaness fans seeking out elusive early recordings of the composer's work. This is a digital restoration of the 1953 Mercury disc (left) which includes the only recording to date of 'Arevakal' Concerto No.1 for Orchestra, along with Henry Cowell's Symphony No.4 and Wallingford Riegger's New Dance.

Originally released as volume 6 in the Mercury LP series entitled "American Music Festival", all three works appeared as premiere recordings performed by the Eastman-Rochester Symphony Orchestra conducted by composer (and Eastman School director) Howard Hanson. It is little known that Hanson was an ardent supporter of Hovhaness's work; it was at Hanson's suggestion that Hovhaness reworked the four-subject fugue from his 1936 string quartet which then, as the Prelude and Quadruple Fugue for orchestra, found greater exposure following Hanson's 1955 recording of the work, also for Mercury Records. Hanson later invited Hovhaness to teach at Eastman's summer school from 1956 to 1958. The two men also shared a passion for the music of Sibelius, at that time somewhat unfashionable in America.

Arevakal (or 'Season of the Sun') is subtitled 'Concerto No.1 for Orchestra', though in truth is more akin to a suite in six movements. Its material comprises both hymnal movements and shorter, folk-like dance movements, with much use of the polytonality one finds in early 1950s Hovhaess. Ten more numbered concertos would follow, of which only three (Nos. 4, 7 and 8) were marked "for Orchestra".

Soundmark digital restorations are released as downloadable mp3 files only, so we have reproduced below the original liner notes relating to Arevakal from the back of the 1953 Mercury long-player disc MG 40005.

Due to copyright law varying across territories, this release is not currently available for download in the United States, Canada and a few other non-European territories.

Listen to Audio Clips...

Alan Hovhaness
Arevakal Concerto No.1
for Orchestra

Henry Cowell
Symphony No.4

Wallingford Riegger
New Dance

Howard Hanson
Eastman-Rochester Symphony Orchestra

Not downloadable in the USA

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Original Liner Notes for Arevakal

Arevakal is the name by which the Lenten season is designated in the Armenian Church and means literally, "the coming of the sun". The music of Hovhaness's Concerto for Orchestra thusly titled was composed for the Little Orchestra Society, which gave the work its world premiere under the direction of Thomas Scherman in New York on February 18th, 1952. Completed on July 9th 1951, Arevakal is dedicated to the turn-of-the-century spiritualist Andrew Jackson Davis, Seer of Poughkeepsie". Although the Arevakal Concerto is meant to be listened to on its own terms as music, it is also quite plain that its six movements are intended to evoke some element of mystic ritual.

The first movement, Allegretto, is subtitled Incantation, and is suggestive of a ritual chant in which solo horn, oboe and clarinet play leading roles. There follows a Canzona marked Andante espressivo, in which a hymn-like melody pursues its course concluding with an epilogue scored for just a single trumpet and two French horns. The dance element takes over in the third movement which bears the medieval designation of Estampie. Polytonal and canonic textures dominate here, contrast being provided by a middle episode featuring a solo flute cadenza played against a polytonal ostinato figure in the harp. Another dance movement follows, also in polytonal-canonic texture; titled Bar, after the medieval German verse pattern (A-A-B — two Stollen followed by the Abgesang). The fifth movement is an impressive piece in slow tempo called Sharagan, or hymn of praise. The middle section contains a number of the Landino cadences which sound so strange to modern ears. Arevakal concludes with a final hymn-like movement styled Ballata, apparently with reference to the 14th century Italian verse structure cultivated by Francesco Landino (c.1325-1397) whose basic pattern can be outlined as A-B-B-A-A.

Annotation by David Hall for Mercury Records, 1953


More Hovhaness mp3 albums from Soundmark

Hovhaness Premieres

Alan Hovhaness:
Premiere Recordings

Upon Enchanted Ground

Suite for Violin, Piano and Pecussion

Avak the Healer

Elden Bailey (percussion), Samuel Baron (flute), Lucile Lawrence (harp), Claus Adam (cello), Anahid Ajemian (violin), Maro Ajemian (piano), Mary Lee Farris (soprano), Leon Rapier (trumpet), Jorge Mester conducting the Louisville Orchestra.

Not downloadable in the USA


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Hovhaness Lousadzak & Concerto No.2

1957 MGM Recordings
Lousadzak / Concerto No.2

Lousadzak for Piano and String Orchestra, Op. 48

Concerto No. 2 for Violin and String Orchestra, Op. 89a

Maro Ajemian (piano), Anahid Ajemian (violin)
Carlos Surinach conducting the MGM String Orchestra

Not yet downloadable in the USA


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Hovhaness Dial Recordings

Alan Hovhaness:
The 1950 Dial Recordings

Lousadzak

Tzaikerk

Shatakh

Achtamar

Maro Ajemian (piano), Anahid Ajemian (violin),
Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, Alan Hovhaness conductor

Not downloadable in the USA


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Hovhaness October Mountain

The Complete
1960 Urania Recordings

Alan Hovhaness: October Mountain

George Antheil: Ballet Mecanique

Carlos Chavez: Toccata for Percussion

Manhattan Percussion Ensemble,
conducted by Paul Price / Robert Craft


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Premiere Recordings:
Hovhaness, McPhee, Pinkham

Alan Hovhaness: Avak the Healer

Colin McPhee: Symphony No.2

Daniel Pinkham: Symphony No.2

Mary Lee Farris (soprano), Leon Rapier (trumpet),
The Louisville Orchestra
conducted by Jorge Mester / Robert Whitney


Buy or listen at Amazon.com

Buy or listen at Amazon UK

Buy or listen at Amazon Deutschland

Buy or listen at Amazon France

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