Gramophone

You can hear [four Armenian composers] on Music from Armenia for Cello and Piano , a delightful disc of discoveries played by two Canadians, Heather Tuach and Patil Harboyan. The idea for the recording came after the pair had a huge success with Impromptu by Alexander Arutiunian, surely destined to become a favourite encore. They started investigating other Armenian works for the two instruments: Vocalise by Arno Babajanian which, despite its obvious indebtedness to Rachmaninov, is a real charmer, and Haro Stepanian’s Cello Sonata (1943), another rewarding find which reminds us what an important part folk music plays in Armenian classical works. This is most directly illustrated by the arrangements of nine short folk songs collected by Komitas, the godfather of Armenian music and ethnomusicology. They are played with an unaffected simplicity, Dzirani Dzar (‘Apricot Tree’) and Akh Maral Jan (‘Ah, dear Maral’) among the best of them.

—Jeremy Nicholas