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This CD represents 15 centuries of Armenian sacred music pasted into a musical collage over a catch-all piano accompaniment that irresistibly recalls Michael O’Suilleabhain’s celtic tapestries, but without the Irishman’s heartfelt grace and dancing mobility. ECM’s role in popularising ‘faith minimalism’ can’t be discounted and it is intriguing to hear 5th-century shara- kans by Meshrop Mahtots (inventor or restorer of the Armenian alphabet) alongside 20th-century works by Komitas (who died in Paris in 1935); but the sonorous singing fails to remove an impression of faith reduced to New Age aesthetics.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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