Tigran Mansurian’s Requiem to be performed in Riga today

The Latvian Radio Choir and the State Chamber Orchestra Sinfonietta Rīga will perform Tigran Mansurian’s Requiem at the Church of St. John in Riga on March 1.

In 2017, the Requiem was nominated for Grammy in two categories – Best Contemporary Music Composition and Best Performance of the Choir. In 2018 Requiem received the International Classical Music Award ICMA (International Classical Music Awards), which was presented in Luxembourg in January this year.

Maertro Tigran Mansurian will be present at the performance. Speaking to Dienas Mediji ahead of the concert, the composer said “it is a merit of of Tigran Mkrtchyan, the Ambassador of Armenia to Latvia –  a great music lover.”

Tigran Mansurian has created a Requiem dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide. It reconciles the sound and sensibility of Armenian traditions with the Latin Requiem text in a profoundly moving contemporary composition, illuminated by the glow of Armenian modality.

Asked whether it is an “Armenian requiem,” Mansurian said. “It was important for me to find an intonative truth that was close to me because I had never composed anything in Latin with the language. I love Armenian poetry and language very much. As a musician I am an Armenian language son. When I was working on Canonical Latin texts, it was interesting to create new music and word relationships. I imagine that my vocals sing the characters that I see in the ancient Armenian manuscripts. They sing ancient Armenian spiritual music – a monody (unanimity) that arose in the fifth century and which is still sung in Armenian churches today.”

“The names of these ancient songs are in Armenian. If they are replaced by Latin texts, the tune “remembers” your mother tongue, your foundation. When I started singing these tunes in a romantic style, I felt like I was singing in Armenian. Composers usually say that when composing music, they are carefully following it to suit the language traditions they write. But I do the opposite. I did everything to be traditional Armenian spiritual singing, only this time the heroes of our ancient manuscripts sing it in Latin. This is the meeting of two beginnings, whose paths never crossed. I wanted to combine two completely unrelated phenomena, thus obtaining a third,” Tigran Mansurian stated.

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