Alfred Schnittke’s Concerto with original text of St. Gregory of Narek’s Book of Lamentations performed in Vatican
VATICAN, APRIL 6, ARMENPRESS. Composer Alfred Schnittke's Concerto for Mixed Chorus in classical Armenian version (Grabar) was performed for the first time in Vatican on April 5. He composed the Concerto in 1985 after reading St. Gregory of Narek’s Book of Lamentations. A part of the Concerto was performed by deacon Hovhannes Nersesyan with the Mirzoyan Quartet, Armenpress correspondent reports from Vatican.
Artist Sona Azaryan, founder of the Mirzoyan Quartet, told reporters that the Quartet this year marks the 5th anniversary of establishment. “In this jubilee year for us, also on this symbolic day, Schnittke’s Concerto originally in Russian composed for the choir was performed by our accompaniment. Vache Sharafyan made a respective development for the Mirzoyan Quartet on this important day. And as you noticed, we returned the classical Armenian text”, she said.
Sona Azaryan said Schnittke’s Concerto by Gregory’s original text was performed for the first time. “I hope this initiative will continue”, she added.
On the same day dinner on behalf of Armenia’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Holy See and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta Mikayel Minasyan was organized at the Doria Pamphilj palace in the evening of April 5 in honor of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin II and Catholicos Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia. The reception was attended by more than two hundred guests.
The reception was held on the symbolic day when the statue of St. Gregory of Narek was inaugurated in the gardens of Vatican.
Ambassador Mikayel Minasyan delivered remarks during the reception:
“Dear Mr. President,
Lieutenant of the Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta,
His Holiness Garegin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians,
His Holiness Catholicos Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia,
Representatives of the Holy See, Order of Malta, Italy and Armenia, diplomatic corps,
Dear friends, ladies and gentlemen,
With great pleasure, I, also on behalf of my colleague Victoria Baghdasaryan, welcome you at this evening during which we celebrate the official opening ceremony of the statue of St. Gregory of Narek in the gardens of Vatican. I am very happy that today people gathered here who assisted the path full of constant efforts that reached us here. The path, which reached St. Gregory of Narek to the title of Doctor of the Church and initiatives following it, such as today’s event, was long. It started by the request of late Nerses Bedros XIX, continued by the continuous work of many people who are today here, Archbishop Zekiyan, Cardinal Sandri, Cardinal Coch, Cardinal Amato. The result of your work reached the request to His Holiness Pope Francis who approved it in February 2015. On April 12 of the same year we participated in the mass at the St. Peter’s Cathedral during which St. Gregory of Narek was proclaimed Doctor of the Church.
I remember with pleasure the ecumenical spirit during that unforgettable event. It today as well continues nourishing our relations. The evidence of this is today’s modest prayer. I hope that spirit will exist also in the future when the second statue is erected in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin by the will of His Holiness Garegin II.
I want to express special gratitude to the Armenian President for backing this project as he asked the Pope two years ago in Armenia while presenting to the Supreme Pontiff the small-scale model of the statue to install its larger copy in the Vatican gardens. And I want to express my deepest gratitude to His Holiness Pope Francis mentioning him in my prayers.
I want again to express gratitude to Cardinal Sandri who made possible this initiative, as well as Archbishop Barsamyan and Monsignor Borgia for assisting us during this entire process. I also want to thank the author of the sculpture Davit Yerevantsi for communicating St. Gregory of Narek to the complex universe through bronze. Thank you for this extraordinary work.
I want to thank my friend Artur Janibekyan who joined me and generously funded the implementation of this statue. I would like to thank Mikayel Hasratyan for architectural support, the Vatican government technical services office, specifically to director Rafael García de la Serena, as well as architect Barbara Bellano and engineer Marco Bargellini and all those who had their contribution to the implementation of this project. Special thanks to project manager Vardan Karapetyan: he played a key role.
Over the past years the Armenian Embassy in the Holy See launched a number of initiatives that have spread the Holy’s name and work. An initiative that found a place in my heart was the cooperation with the Orchestra of the National Academy of Santa Cecilia of Rome – the Concerto for Mixed Chorus by Alfred Schnittke. Schnittke composed the Concerto after reading Gregory's Book of Lamentations. Today we listened to a piece of that work.
Thank you everyone”.
English –translator/editor: Aneta Harutyunyan