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for Clarinet and Piano

It was one of his regular visits to the UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) Library in early 2007, when Manukyan was leaving the building - tired, having studied scores by Shostakovich and Prokofiev all day. The letters of the Armenian alphabet in the title of a book, sitting in a sea of English titles, caught his attention by surprise. It was an old Soviet publication - a collection of songs on words by Armenian poets, composed by Aram Merangulyan.

Manukyan read through the music and was pleased by the lovely, touching melodies that reached out to him from a bygone era, only the last epoch of which he had seen in his childhood. He later found that for many years Aram Merangulyan had been the artistic director of the Armenian Radio Folk Music Ensemble and that his posthumous 100th birthday had been celebrated in Yerevan only a year ago.

Having missed the centenary of the hard-working craftsman of Armenian popular songs, Manukyan dedicated the duet he soon wrote for clarinet and piano to the great Soviet-Armenian astronomer Viktor Ambartsumian, including it in the framework of the Musical Tribute to Scientists project. He quoted a phrase from one of Merangulyan’s songs, based on words by Hovhannes Shiraz.

Duration is approx. 3 minutes.

The quoted phrase, slightly modified, appears in the clarinet part (Bb) below.

The piano accompaniment, as seen in the following extract, consists of sound palates and ornamental embellishments, rather than traditional chords.

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