Armenian News Network / Groong September 27, 2005 Entertainment Wire By Sahan Arzruni NEW YORK, NEW YORK Eerie. Desolate. Haunting. Perturbing. Those are a few of the words that came to mind as I listened to Suren Zakarian's "Island of Lamentation," performed by the New Juilliard Ensemble under the baton of Joel Sachs at New York's Lincoln Center on Saturday, September 24. As Dr. Sachs remarked after the concert, "You wouldn't want to be in his mind as he was composing it." One of Armenia's "middle generation" composers, Suren Zakarian is a musician of considerable note in his native country. Six years ago he was brought to the attention of Dr. Sachs, and Sachs has championed Suren's music ever since. Last month, he arranged for Zakarian's string quartet to be played as part of the Museum of Modern Art's "Summergarden" series. "Island of Lamentation" is an expressionistic work, revelatory of the composer's inner self -- his subconscious being. Suren's creative approach is systematic and precise, employing individual pitches -- single sonorities -- to produce intense tonal effects in the listener's ear. The method is to music what pointillism is to painting. In this way, Suren's music is reminiscent of the work of composer Anton Webern. A Zakarian composition is also concise, and listening to it requires a certain concentration: a commitment to cracking its hard outer shell, in order to penetrate to the kernel within. Inevitably, that kernel is fecund with peculiar beauty and sensory delight, and repeated listenings clarify and enhance its meaning. "Island of Lamentation" was composed for the New Juilliard Ensemble in 2001 as a gesture of thanks for its 1999 performance of Mr. Zakarian's "Dedicatio." It has since been performed elsewhere on numerous occasions. The instrumentalists for this most recent outing -- all students at The Juilliard School -- were fully prepared for the extraordinary ensemble work required by the piece. The balance of the wonderfully imaginative September 24 program included compositions by American composers Kenji Bunch and Jack Beeson (who has used Saroyan's "The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze," as well as "My Heart's in the Highlands" as fodder for opera), by Ukrainian-Israeli composer Valentine Bibik, and by New Zealander John Psathas. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Sahan Arzruni is a concert pianist and an ethnomusicologist. He has toured China and Vietnam, performing and giving master classes, and has delivered a series of lectures on Arshak II at the request of the San Francisco Opera Guild.
Redistribution of Groong articles, such as this one, to any other
media, including but not limited to other mailing lists and Usenet
bulletin boards, is strictly prohibited without prior written
© Copyright 2005 Armenian News Network/Groong. All Rights Reserved.