|The Hilliard Ensemble : discography|
ECM New Series 1850
Playing time: 81'03
Recorded November 2001, Himmelfahrtskirche Sendling, München and January 2002, Propstei St. Gerold
Tigran Mansurian: Monodia
Kim Kashkashian / Leonidas Kavakos / The Hilliard Ensemble / Jan Garbarek / Münchener Kammerorchester - Christoph Poppen
Kim Kashkashian, viola
"Monodia" follows the scene-setting album "Hayren", issued last year, on which Mansurian appeared also as a performer, alongside American-Armenian violist Kim Kashkashian and American percussionist Robyn Schulkowsky, interpreting music of the great Armenian ethnomusicologist, folk song collector and composer Komitas. Tigran Mansurian: "The very first time I heard Kim Kashkashian play, I felt that the energy of her sound and the inner vitality of her phrasing originated from a characteristically Armenian source. From a place where economy of means is cultivated and 'ploughing deep' is the guiding principle." Kashkashian and Mansurian have collaborated for more than a decade now. Ideas for the present recording began to take shape in 1999, when ECM helped to set up an "Armenian Night" (with the Mansurian/Kashkashian association at its centre) at the Bergen Festival. Jan Garbarek joined the proceedings there and members of the Yerevan Chamber Choir premiered "Confessing With Faith", a work reprised on the present album with the Hilliard Ensemble.
Release of "Monodia" happens to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Hilliard Ensemble. Their account of "Confessing with Faith" marks the first time that Britain's foremost vocal ensemble has sung in Armenian. The texts are by the 12th century mystic and Supreme Head of the Armenian Church, St Nerses Shnorhali. Shnorhali, revered as a distinguished spiritual leader achieved that feat which seems today all but an impossibility: he established harmonious relations among all the religious communities in the area.