Of Flowers, Goats, and the Lost Mountain
The Sunday Times
By Kenneth Zammit Tabona
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Read the full article from this link.
<...> Armenia is not a country that is exactly on the main tourist map… Its history alone, holocausts, diasporas and wares and earthquakes coupled with its passionate Christian roots set in a purely Islamic surround made up of Iran, Turkey and Azerbaijan make it unique in that turbulent region which once all formed part of the Soviet Bloc.
Khachaturian represents an Armenia that was still sheltered and protected within that bloc with all its quixotic contrariness with regard to the arts, while Manukyan is a product of the Diaspora and whose trio has a movement called ‘Homeland from Far Away’. Although full of ancient central Asian folk tunes, there was an echo of the yearning to regain the lands stolen from Armenia by Turkey. <…>
Despite the mosquito-ridden air, the Equinox Trio played with the style and precision that we have come to expect of it. The almost imperceptible jazzy undertones of the first movement of the Khachaturian were elegiac and rich in texture, while the slower second movement was delightfully elegiac leading to a toccata-like finale full of dark and vibrant colour.<…>
Out of the three movements of the Manukyan, I largely fell for 'Across the Rocky Mountains'. I doubt the Americanised Manukyan was thinking of Mount Ararat at this juncture, but the exacting cadenzas for the various instruments were impressively performed, especially Lino Pirotta’s deeply expressive one on the clarinet.
(Courtesy of The Sunday Times)