Composed for cellist Ani Aznavoorian and pianist Marta Aznavoorian, sisters and renowned chamber musicians, Mount Ararat is the first chamber music work by Peter Boyer since his student years. It was composed especially for the Aznavoorians’ recording project on Cedille Records, to be produced by Cedille founder and Grammy-winning producer James Ginsburg.

Instrumentation

Cello, Piano

Duration

9:00

Commission and Dedication

Composed 2021
Commissioned by and dedicated to Ani & Marta Aznavoorian

View Performance History

Recorded by Ani & Marta Aznavoorian at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, University of Chicago, August 11, 2021, for release on Cedille Records (forthcoming, summer 2022)

Read Program Note

This piece was composed for Ani and Marta Aznavoorian, sisters of extraordinary talent and musical accomplishment. The catalyst for the composition was their 2021 recording project for Cedille Records, the theme of which is music for cello and piano by Armenian composers — reflecting the Aznavoorians’ Armenian heritage.

Having admired Ani and Marta’s musical artistry, I was eager to write a piece which they might perform and record, but being clearly non-Armenian myself (an “odar,” as I came to learn), I was far from an obvious choice as a composer for their recording. However, having previously composed works inspired by mythology, I conceived the idea of a piece based on an Armenian myth or legend, which might find a place alongside music by Armenian composers. Some research and discussion led to the idea of a piece inspired by Mount Ararat.

There is a legend which holds that Mount Ararat is the resting place of the mythical Noah’s Ark. Apart from that tradition, Mount Ararat holds great significance as a symbol of Armenia, to those of Armenian heritage. As Ani Aznavoorian has stated, “countless wars have been fought and lives lost over the land where the mountain lies.” Both that tragic history, and impressions of the breathtaking mountain itself — as I have viewed only in photographs — were in my mind while composing this music.

In order to bind this piece even more closely to the repertoire for this recording project, I was asked to consider incorporating a quotation of the folk song “Krunk,” or “The Crane,” of Komitas, a figure of unparalleled importance in Armenian music. Though quoting folk songs is not at all my usual practice as a composer, and in this case the harmonic language is different than my own, I did include this quotation at the end of the piece — in a manner which I hope honors its original setting, and fits within the context of the work.

Boyer: Mount Ararat

MIDI/sampled demo (actual track forthcoming)