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ALAN HOVHANESS WRITES ABOUT AVAK THE HEALER

Peter Christ of Crystal Records has kindly given the Alan Hovhaness International Research Centre copies of Alan Hovhaness letters written to him. Below, a very beautiful letter describing "Avak the Healer"

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"September 9, 1975

Dear Mr. Christ:

Here are some program notes-please use them as you wish...

Avak the Healer Opus 65 for soprano, trumpet, and string orchestra. The text by the composer. The overture was composed in 1945 and conducted by the composer in an all-Hovhaness program March 10, 1946 in Boston, Mass.

The program notes describing the overture called it a 3 part form like the Japanese Jo-Ha Kyu form. The 3 sections or steps may be called "The Sorrow," "The Unknown Way" and "The Blessing." The greater the emotional intensity, the greater the simplicity.

This is not "intellectual" music but music of pure feeling. The trumpet symbolizes the voice of the inspired messenger, the cantor, the singer-prophet. The strings express the prayer of the people.

The text and cantata were composed in 1946 and performed in New York on Feb. 7, 1947. These are four songs of spiritual healing with a processional-like intermezzo.

The text is as follows:

Avak the Healer

1. Overture

2. Dawn

Dawn radiance, bell towers, tall, slender, long stemmed and flower-like, streaming from heaven, raining blessedness over the roof-tops of the world. Alleluia!

He has come from the skies like a bird, from the earth like a dance. Alleluia.

3. He strikes the bells

He strikes the bells on the high altar tops, and fills the worlds with glory, Alleluia!

The walls between the world grow thin and brightness pierces through, Alleluia.

4. Processional

5. Strangeness

Strangeness by day, strangeness by night, visions walk the earth. A fiery hand outstretched; strangeness in the heart, strangeness in the eyes, Alleluia.

6. He touches the broken heart

He touches the broken heart, from secret sorrow springs a tree of light, the roots deep in darkness, the branches of flaming fire, the leaves a thousand touches, Alleluia!"


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