On the album Shoror, the music of Komitas is interpreted at the crossroads of Armenian folk traditions and European classical style. Mariam Kharatyan and Vigen Balasanyan present a selection of piano works and songs in instrumental versions, bringing the traditional instruments blul and duduk together with the grand piano in a unique soundscape. The album is dedicated to the 150th anniversary of Komitas.
Besides collecting and arranging Armenian Peasant Songs, Komitas also focused in particular on the instrumental music that was played during folk dances, creating his famous Yot Par and Msho Shoror. In her search for a pianistic variety of musical expression, opening new perspectives on finding articulation and timbre when imitating the folk instruments sound on the piano, Mariam Kharatyan has been specifically interested in Yot Par and Msho Shoror for solo piano as unique sources. Each dance-melody has its roots from a particular region of Armenia and is marked by Komitas to be played in style of folk instruments/ensemble of folk instruments. In songs, Kharatyan’s departure point has been the arrangements for solo piano by Villy Sargsyan and the original version for voice and piano by Komitas. Through the artistic search and her response to the folk aesthetics, when playing the songs together with blul and duduk – among the oldest Armenian folk instruments, it is, in fact, re-evoking the folk sonority and folk expression of the music.
Armenian pianist Mariam Kharatyan performs as a soloist and chamber musician. She completed her Master degree at the Komitas State Conservatory in Yerevan, Armenia. From 2015-2019 Kharatyan has worked with the Ph. D. Artistic Research project Armenian Fingerprints: interpreting the piano music of Komitas and Khachaturian in light of Armenian folk music, admitted in the Norwegian Artistic Research Programme. At present, Kharatyan is also Assistant Professor at the University of Agder. Vigen Balasanyan is an Armenian folk musician, performing internationally in several Armenian traditional folk instruments such as duduk, blul, shvi, pku, zurna, as well as on saxophone and clarinet. His musical profile features Armenian folk, jazz, and popular music in a broad repertoire, playing as a solo artist and in the ensembles, including the Gusanakan State Ensemble of Armenia. Balasanyan has collaborated with several folk, jazz and pop music bands and has toured with concerts in USA, France, China, Poland, Greece, Cyprus, Russia, Uzbekistan, Qatar, and Lebanon.