|RESEARCHERS OF KOMITAS
The countless heritages
of Komitas present great scientific, historical and theoretical
value in all of these spheres: musical ethnography, composition,
scientific investigation, performing art. This is why his creative
work has continuously been the focus of various investigations for
over a century. It has numerously become the source of inspiration
for many of Komitas’s contemporaries, including the foreign
ones. Many of western European composers of the end of the 19th
and beginning of the 20th century have discovered new paths in composition
while they researched the music of Komitas. His native researchers
have always considered it a professional duty to base their works
on the experience of Komitas. No wonder, in 1969, for the 100th
anniversary of Vardapet, the Institute of Arts of the Academy of
Sciences of Armenia started the release of a series of collections
of researches called “Komitasiana” under the edition
of the outstanding Armenian musicologist Robert Atayan.
At the beginning of the 20th century the Armenian musicology was
already abundant in articles and books about Komitas and his work.
Ruben Terlemezian, Alexander Shahverdian, Samson Gasparian…
each of them revealed their own approach to Komitas’s art,
having worthily appreciated his role and significance in the history
of the Armenian music.
Ruben Terlemezian’s collections deserve a special attention.
Not only the musicians, but also amateurs are interested in the
collection about Komitas that contain articles and recollections
by Derenik Demirchian, Spiridon Melikian, Panos Terlemezian, Stepan
Demurian, Vahan Ter-Arakelian. Terlemezian also collected part of
musicological materials of the composer and compiled a wonderful
collection called “Komitas. Articles and investigations”.
It is worth mentioning the reputable monograph of a recognized musicologist
Alexander Shahverdian that takes quite a leading role in the existing
innumerable literature about Komitas.
Another colossal collection is presented by Izabella Eolyan. Here
the author depicts the life of Komitas, the main aspects of his
activities, ideal-artistic views and the national roots of his art.
The author also included a number of new materials that promote
a more exact and whole elucidation of the life and creative work
Robert Atayan is one of the most central Armenian researchers of
Komitas’s art. He is the author of countless articles related
to the multifaceted activity, artistic heritage, stylistic peculiarities,
and the polyphony found in Komitas’s compositions. Atayan
thought the Komitas’s individuality as a composer is most
vividly expressed in his choral and solo performances. This whole
and typical style today stands as more complete, more fascinating
internally, diverse and developing.
One of two viewpoints famous in musicology about the appraisal of
Komitas’s creative work is the one according to which Komitas
is an ethnographer rather than a composer, however, it is not correct.
The second view is more correct, i.e. Komitas is a skillful composer
endowed with a bright personality. His works on folk music are highly
professional and they preserve its specificity and open new ways
in the international musical art.
While researching the materials from the Komitas fund of the museum
of literature and art of Yerevan, Atayan pays a special attention
to “Anush” opera, which Komitas never completed. “Komitas
made use of several folk melodies in his drafts, although the majority
consists of new melodies composed in the peasant and urban styles.
In this case, why, the national shade is much more tangible”,
wrote Atayan. He considers “Anush” to be one of the
most important pages in the history of the national opera art and
believes that if the found materials are added with some orchestral
and choral fragments, the staging of this marvelous composition
can be accomplished.
The most significant theoretical musical works of R.Atayan are “The
elements of polyphony in the Armenian national music” and
“The principle of harmonization of Komitas’s national
music”. Atayan spoke regarding the monodic structure of the
Armenian national music: “In the case of the national music,
the presence or absence of polyphony for the given composition is
the traditional stylistic feature, one of its characteristics”.
According to Atayan, the Armenian music, having the monophonic monodic
structure, has long contained different elements of various types
of polyphony. Based on the multivoiced works of Komitas, a musicologist
researches their modal structure and the principles of harmonization.
Atayan’s work is valuable for the compilation of the collection
of scientific researches “Komitasiana”, which was dedicated
to various issues of the fruitful efforts of Komitas, and for the
academic publication of Komitas’s heritage. At present the
latter is being continued by one of the most vivid representatives
of modern musicology Georgiy Geodakian. He is also the author of
the articles devoted to the life, artistic activity, and stylistic
peculiarities of Komitas’s creative work (“Komitas’s
style and 20th century music”, “The genius of the Armenian
music”, etc.) and monograph. In his researches Geodakian was
practically the first to single out the phenomenon of “Komitas”
from the narrow national music art and presented it within the framework
of the world culture of the 20th century (Debussi, Bartok, Stravinsky).
“Komitas approached the folk art in a different manner. The
innovative principles of Komitas are valuable: they are revealed
not only within the framework of the Armenian folk music but also
in a broad sense – from the standpoint the development of
world music art. Komitas is great because he was able to raise the
solution of the biggest problems of his own national art to the
level of the solution of problems of all 20th century music art.
While doing this he did not only use the experience and achievements
of previous specialists, but he also made a foundation for new musical
Komitas entered the music arena in times very difficult for music
art – in times of crisis and reassessment of values. In these
conditions the innovations were not always accepted, and they were
often considered formal and superficial pushing the music art into
a dead-end. For such artists as Komitas, endowed with high realization
of the ethical duty, no doubt, innovation for the sake of innovation
did not make sense. The newest principles of the organization of
music materials root from aiming at the deep penetration of the
essence of folk art and music and its whole and faultless expression.
As the history showed, this was the most active and progressive
way of the renewal of the music culture of our times”, wrote
Another researcher of Komitas’s art iso Matevos Muradian.
His articles are diverse and their majority is devoted to Komitas’s
artistic activity and his works (such as “The Liturgy of Yekmalian
in the appraisal of Komitas”, “Komitas and the Armenian
folk song”, “Vocal works of Komitas”). M.Muradian
also turned to the genius composer’s social and educational
activitities. In the article called “Komitas and the demonstration
of the Armenian music in Europe” he touches on the issues
that have to do with Komitas’s concert tours, publications
and lectures on the Armenian music.
It is well-known that Komitas dreamt of creating a national conservatory.
He was always concerned with the issue of the education of the national
musical candidates. The article “Komitas programs on the preparations
of the national musical candidates” by Matevos Muradian is
devoted to that issue. Here he illustrates the issues related to
the pedagogical activity of Komitas.
A famous Armenian musicologist Nikogayos Tagmizian is another researcher
of Komitas’s heritage. Being an expert on the Armenian spiritual
music, he turns to Komitas’s researches on the church music
in his articles (“Komitas and the taghs of Grigor Narekatsi”,
“Komitas and the problem of decoding the Armenian khazzes”,
“Komitas and the issues of the research on the Armenian church
singing”). “Komitas was the founder of not only the
new national composer school, but also of the science about the
ancient Armenian musical culture. In spite of the incompletion of
some researches on the Armenian church singing, they do constitute
a definite system of thoughts and postulates and are worthy of attention…
Komitas founded the base of the newest Armenian science about the
ancient Armenian singing, in many ways did he decide the further
development path of this science”, wrote N.Tagmizian.
Cicilia Brutian is the author of numerous articles about Komitas.
Along with the articles “Komitas in the world significance”,
“Komitas as an educator”, “Ethnographic collection
of Komitas” and others, it is worth mentioning her other work
called “Komitas”. This book was written with the subtlety
of a musicologist and at the same time in a language accessible
to a wide range of readers. With Brutian’s words, “Komitas
emerged from the deepness of centuries-long history of the life
and spiritual culture of the Armenian people and reached higher
facing the new ways of its development”.
Komitas’s works have served as a basis for theoretical researches
of many musicologists (for example, Edward Pashinian, Rafael Stepanian).
His life and artistic activity were depicted not only by the Armenian,
but also by foreign musicians (Amédée Gastoué (1873-1943), Mikhail Gnesin (1883-1957), Dmitry Kabalevsky (1904-1987), Otar Taktakishvili (1924-1989).
The huge bibliography on Komitas is continuously being added with
new books and articles.