The Cognition of Traditions: Mutual Ties

Margarita Rukhkyan
The Cognition of Traditions: Mutual Ties

The art innovation is a category of thought, and not a factor of mechanical communication to the contemporary methods of composition techniques. The same way, the positive experience of the communications to the traditions underlie not on the way on their illustration or extraction, but on their creative insight.

The peak periods of the art history always coincide with the renaissance of the old traditions, newly conceived. We can definitely state that the professional music, leaving more and more the folk traditions for its own elite and refined world, still gets the inspiration from the folk and traditional art.

The contemporary professional music, regardless its apparent remoteness from the folk music, reveals out of its midst the composers who disclosed the source of the original folk music traditions and expose more and more trustworthy the insight of past, as a result of their conceptual creative vision.

This deep penetration into the folk traditions realizes the mutual ties, i.e. the contemporary music not only acquires and enriches the ideas, but also revives the old traditions, make them independently topical.

Thus the folk instruments – duduk, zurna, kamancha, dap – had become the heroes of Avet Terteryan’s symphonies. Associating a folk instrument with his symphonic conceptions, the composer revives the national tradition of these instruments and their deep psychological implication.

The author notices in Terteryan’s innovations the challenge to the idea of globalization, the confirmation of originality and exceptionality of every national culture, the protest against its leveling. In the same time, his music forms a new level of artistic awareness containing a wide and multifaceted world. This is a mythology of new type, when a human being is learning to
live in all the times.

The new wave of the Armenian instrumental music is tightly connected with the stimulation of this process. Here we can state the revival of the Armenian music’s impaired ties with East. We observe the revival of the „Armenian East“, as the Armenian culture has always interpreted the Eastern culture from the point of view of its Europeanized, Christian mentality.
This historically justified proximity to the East is expressed today in the music by Vache Sharafyan – representative of a new generation of Armenian composers. After Terteryan, the folk instruments, such as duduk, zurna, sring, kamancha, have become the main heroes of his compositions. They are written for original chamber ensembles. A tiny, exquisitely tailored
ensemble is also a tradition reviving the old Armenian-Eastern practice, generally within the frames of trio – kamancha or tar, percussion instruments and duduk, but also as enlarged gusan ensembles.

Rouben Altunyan’s works provoke an interest in the light of Eastern instrumental concert performance. His „Deserted Cornfield“ for chamber orchestra, bells, duduk and zurna re-creates the idea of this new tradition.

Yervand Yerkanyan’s creative search looks considerable today in the light of Terteryan’s artistic innovations. Yet in 1981 he has composed the opera „Shushanik“, where the chorus sings the letters of the old Armenian alphabet. Unfortunately, the opera wasn’t staged in time, and its original creative experience remained as if idle. But the idea survived and demanded for its realization, which was finally fulfilled. The original intonations of the old Armenian language have always been the tuning fork of the Armenian instrumental music; a language that has treasured the unexcelled masterpieces of poetry and prose. And finally, in Terteryan’s Sixth Symphony one can hear the chorus sing and scan the old Armenian alphabet. The idea, deeply conceived in the midst of Armenian music, has found its incarnation within Terteryan’s typical scope.

The works by Martin Israelyan are also perceived in the light of this  wave – to restore the connection with the ancient musical art forms, to disclose their semantics, to answer the echo of first instrumental calls, first songs and musical dialogues. Martin Israelyan has put the revival of the poetic intonation, traditional poetic forms and, certainly, traditional poetic contents into the practice.

Each artist finds his own self-expression way on the path leading to the sources of musical traditions. The root of the artists‘ creative originality is possibly hidden in the core of his outlook to the folk traditions. In this sense, Avet Terteryan’s innovative energy appears a truly regenerative, not only in the scope of national culture, but even wider. The interest towards his compositions outside Armenia also proves that.