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Song About Byurakan

for Clarinet and Violin (2008)

Written in celebration of astronomer Viktor Ambartsumian’s posthumous 100th anniversary, “Song About Byurakan” has the same instrumentation as Double Helix, dedicated to biologist James D. Watson. "Byurakan" is the name of the famous Soviet-era observatory in Armenia, which was founded and directed by Prof. Ambartsumian himself.

The woodwind-string duet opens up with a theme, played col legno on the violin, and soon wanders off to explore the peculiar characteristics of both instruments.

A clarinet solo in the style of Armenian folk-song emerges soon and leads the music back to the initial theme, which is repeated a few times, ending each time with a stronger cadance. The composition in general is a display of folk-like motifs and special instrumental effects, which create provincial associations and nostalgic feelings.

The publication of "Song About Byurakan" is part of Manukyan's "From Science Series" collection, in which there are dedications to other prominent scientists, such as Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, Francis Crick, James D. Watson, Edward O. Wilson and Steven Weinberg.

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