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Classic of the Week

Djivan Gasparyan "I Will Not Be Sad in This World" (1989) Opal

September 16, 1993|RANDY LEWIS

Historically speaking, Gasparyan and his countrymen in Armenia have plenty of reason to be quite sad in this world, and the exquisitely haunting music he plays captures every nuance of that emotion. But so beautifully melancholy is the gently winding sound of Gasparyan's duduk (an Armenian woodwind instrument related to the oboe) that all sadness over worldly matters is transcended. This album originally was released on a Soviet label in 1983, when Armenia was still part of the Soviet Union. Electronic music composer Brian Eno heard it, was enamored of the music and arranged for its release in the U.S. on his Opal Records label. This week Gasparyan is playing several dates in the Southland for the Los Angeles Festival, culminating with a show Friday, Sept. 17 at the Hollywood Bowl along with the Festival Armenian Chorus (the program also features the L.A. Philharmonic playing the West Coast premiere of Henryk Gorecki's Symphony No. 3, "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs"). The sound of the duduk --actually two duduks , one playing long, unfurling melodies over the drone of the other--is airy but dark, ethereally moving. The eight selections, at once soothing lullabies and aching laments, are traditional Armenian songs, some centuries old, that have been arranged by Gasparyan. It sounds for all intents like music from another world.

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