17.08.2020

James Manheim in AllMusic leaves an excellent review about Komitas Divine Liturgy

"The Divine Liturgy of composer Komitas, also known as Komitas Vardapet or Soghomon Soghomonian, is a work of great significance for the Armenian people, having been completed just before the Armenian genocide in Turkey began. It is often sung in commemoration of that event. The music is deeply rooted in traditional Armenian religious music, yet it is also part of the modern world, with a set of four notes lending tonal unity and harmonic shifts adding contrast. It is a cappella, and the uninitiated will find it a couple of settings closer to traditional music than, say, Rachmaninov's Vespers. This version by the Latvian Radio Choir under Sigvards Klava is the first non-Armenian recording of the work (the lead soloists are Armenian). It came about at the behest of Armenia's ambassador to Latvia, who hoped to introduce the work to a wider audience. He commissioned composer Vache Sharafyan to make a new version, here termed an arrangement. Sharafyan shortened the work to concert length (presently it just fills one CD) and added female voice parts to the original all-male work. This has raised the hackles of traditionalists in the past, and the whole thing, in addition to being a solemn piece of choral music, is a fascinating example of the tensions inherent in the adaptation of a sacred object. Sharafyan's female voice parts have a unique subtlety that is captured well by the Latvian Radio Choir. In general, Klava gets an intriguing airy but sober sound from this remarkable group, which here offers a really offbeat item."

Komitas | Divine Liturgy
Komitas | Divine Liturgy