From the INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY 13 Sept 2015-09-15
TIGRAN HAMASYAN LUYS i LUSO
By Phil Johnson
Pianist- prodigy Hamasyan grew up in California, winning the famous Thelonious Monk prize and releasing his debut album while still a teenager. Now he’s returned to his birthplace of Armenia, from where he has made this extraordinarily beautiful recording of sacred music.
Arranged by Hamasyan, the pieces date back from the 5th to the 20th centuries and are sung by a 23-strong choir in an earthily passionate liturgical style. The role of the piano is vital: sometimes introducing a theme, sometimes improvising around it, Hamasyan uses the characteristic, Eastern-hued Armenian modes to summon up an ancient world. It’s very different to Jan Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble’s million-selling Officium, but if you like that, you’ll love this.