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Lush, romantic concertos for two pianos, piccolo and viola from this gifted young composer.

Jeff Manookian's Concerto for Piccolo and Orchestra was written in mid-year of 2002, and premiered on November 29, 2002 in Yerevan, Armenia with the same soloists as heard in this recording. The work engages the soloist and a large orchestra in a quasi chamber ensemble-like fashion. Despite this balancing act, there are many moments when the full forces of the symphony orchestra are brought to the fore. Its three movements are played without pause. Six authentic fragments from Armenia's rich folk musical heritage (with two original motifs by the composer as counter-subjects) are cast for viola and orchestra in the tradition of Khachaturian and Bartok, to become a bona fide concerto. The Improvisations on Armenian Folk Songs for Viola and Orchestra were first performed on April 30, 2000 in Salt Lake City. The Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra was composed in the summer of 2002, and also received its world premiere at the November 29, 2002 concert. The concerto is an unabashed programmatic tone-poem. A khachkar is an ornately carved stone cross. These icons are found in abundance throughout the countryside and mountainous terrains of Armenia. Armenia is the oldest of Christian nations on earth, accepting Christianity as its national religion in the year 301 AD. Khachkar, an instrumental prayer, is based on two borrowed religious tunes. It was first performed on June 1, 2002 in Salt Lake City with Laurel Ann Maurer as soloist.
Jeff Manookian, composer
Concerto for Piccolo & Orchestra
Laurel Ann Maurer, piccolo, Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra, Jeff Manookian, conductor

Jeff Manookian, composer
Improvisations on Armenian Folk Songs for Viola & Orchestra
John Pickford Richards, viola, Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra, Jeff Manookina, conductor

Jeff Manookian, composer
Concerto for Two Pianos & Orchestra
Susan Duehlmeier & Bonnie Gritton, piano duo, Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra, Jeff Manookina, conductor

Review to come.
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