Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Lecture - 7 Oct - The Armenian neumes by Dr Haig Utidjian‏

Oxford Armenian Studies
Michaelmas Term 2013 - Armenian Studies Seminar
The Armenian neumes and their chequered career in the nineteenth century
Dr Haig Utidjian (Charles University, Prague)
Monday 7th October, 12:30-2:00 PMLecture Room 1, The Oriental Institute, Pusey Lane
The Armenian neumes (musical notation) continue to pose one of the most tantalizing open problems in Armenian philology and musicology today. This lecture will seek to examine the manner in which the neumes appear to have been used in the nineteenth century. The period under consideration may be deemed to be delimited by apparent culs-de-sac: the publication in 1803 of two volumes by Grigordpir Gapasak‘alean, featuring a largely intractable mélange of Middle-Byzantine and Armenian neumes; and the combined Breviary/Hymnal volume published in Venice in 1898 by Achb. Ignatios Kiwrełean, remarkable for its meticulous typographic reproduction of the minutest details of the notation in Venice’s thirteenth-century „King Hetum“ codex (San Lazzaro, No. 29). But the years in between witnessed far more fruitful endeavours. 
Dr Utidjian‘s emphasis will be on the work of the Constantinople church musician Ełia Tntesean (1834–1881), whose work on the Armenian neumes has still not been superseded. Of all nineteenth-century Armenian musicians, it is Tntesean alone who has left us with an honest and explicit account of his methods. Treating the legacy of his scholarly articles, musical transcriptions and posthumously-published realisations as a single coherent corpus serves to expose his thinking with a vividness and clarity which could not otherwise be achieved, ultimately leading us (as recent research in Prague has demonstrated) towards a fuller understanding of the way in which the largely incomprehensible neumes were interpreted in nineteenth-century Armenian circles generally and used as an aid in putting together the hymn melodies now extant.
Haig Utidjian was educated at the Universities of Sussex, London and Cambridge and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in the UK. He is a professional orchestral and opera conductor and choirmaster. He is an archdeacon of the Armenian Orthodox Church and a student of the Armenian hymnal and patrology.
This lecture has been made possible by the generosity of the Armenian Studies Seminar at Oxford University and through an Internal Grant (VG 180) from the Philosophical Faculty of the Charles University in Prague.
For further details about the seminar please contact Prof Theo van LintCalouste Gulbenkian Professor of Armenian Studies:  theo.vanlint@orinst.ox.ac.uk or Dr Hratch Tchilingirianhratch.tchilingirian@orinst.ox.ac.uk 

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