A new CD “Yerkaran” of the Armenian musician Komitas Vardapet has been released by Kalan Müzik, a collection of Armenian, Kurdish and Turkish folk songs and songs from several regions of Anatolia. Komitas Vardapet was born in the Central Anatolian town of Kütahya and died at a psychiatric clinic in France, the Hurriyet Daily News writes.
On this CD of Komitas, several religious and non-religious pieces are presented with a new arrangement.
This CD and its book, prepared by Ari Hergel and Burcu Yıldız, offer both music and notes on the artist, his life and the period he lived in.
Komitas was born in Kütahya as Soghomon Soghomonian in 1869. His parents died when he was very young. He was educated at the Gevorkian Seminary both on classical Western music and Armenian Church music history and theory. He established choirs, gave many lectures and performances in the Caucasus and several cities in Europe.
On April 24, 1915, the day when the Armenian Genocide officially began, he was arrested and put on a train the next day together with 180 other Armenian notables and sent to the city of Çankırı in northern Central Anatolia, at a distance of some 300 miles.
His good friend Turkish nationalist poet Mehmet Emin Yurdakul, the writer Halide Edip, and the U.S. Ambassador Henry Morgenthau intervened with the government, and, by special orders from Talat Pasha, Komitas was dispatched back to the capital, but the nightmare he had experienced left a deep ineradicable impression on his soul. Komitas remained in seclusion from the outer world, absorbed in his gloomy and heavy thoughts – sad and broken.
In the autumn of 1916, he was taken to a hospital in Constantinople, Hôpital de la paix, and then moved to Paris in 1919, where he died in a psychiatric clinic in Villejuif in 1935. Next year, his ashes were transferred to Yerevan and buried in the Pantheon that was named after him.