Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Chief Conductor Kirill Karabits continue to bring lesser-known repertoire to the fore in a new recording of music by Armenian composer Avet Terterian (1929-1994).

As part of their ‘Voices from the East’ series, the BSO perform music by Terterian, a composer who, alongside Khachaturian, is regarded as a giant of 20th-century Armenian music. The recording is released on 1 November on the Chandos label.

Karabits says of the music, “Terterian’s music is both thrilling and deeply moving. Meditating on the human condition, he challenges us throughout with motifs exploring the meaning of life and death — it’s been exhilarating to record these works. I met Terterian, as a child, and I’ve always been inspired by his work. Witnessing the BSO audience’s reaction to this music — of excitement and refreshment — was fantastic, and I hope listeners will also feel inspired by our recording”

Heavily influenced by both Armenian folk culture and ancient liturgical music, Terterian worked in solitude on the shores of Lake Sevan. His later music is punctuated by experimental devices, the use of both electronic and traditional folk instruments, and pays continued reference to the Armenian Genocide.

Written in 1975, Symphony No.3 explores the frailty and chaos of life. Scored for Armenian folk instruments — a pair of duduks and zurnas, who take centre stage in front of a large symphony orchestra — the work is written in three movements and is dedicated to the memory of the composer’s young brother, Herman. Recurring themes include the manic laughter of a Japanese toy, meditative Mongolian drumming, and a melancholic soliloquy for solo duduk over a drone.

Terterian’s Symphony No.4, composed a year later, strips away the recognisable symphonic elements in a single-movement work, and Karabits selects the original version — without bar lines — for this recording.  The work explores ‘sound as part of the universe’, in a dreamlike and meditative journey.  Terterian said of his symphonies, “We are all living on the threshold of a terrible apocalyptic judgement. It has always seemed to me that my symphonies are a cry of the soul for salvation and for the forgiveness of sins.”

Avet Rubeni Terterian’s Symphonies Nos.3 and 4 will be released by Chandos on 1 November. Visit bsolive.com for more detail.

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