This Should Feel Like Home
for large ensemble, pre-recorded backing track, and live processing(2013)
|Movements||i. Eyes on Ararat|
ii. Soviet Shadows
iii. They Come to Drink and Pray
iv. The Ground Beneath
v. Removed from Yerevan
vi. This Small Tribe
vii. Mer Hayrenik (Our Fatherland)
|Commission||Commissioned by Carnegie Hall|
|Premiere||November 20, 2013; Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, New York, NY; Hotel Elephant • David Bloom, conductor|
2 percussion (see preview page for full percussion inventory)
|Technical requirements||To obtain electronics for performance, please contact email@example.com.|
See preview page for details on electronics.
As a first generation Armenian-American, the idea of returning to my ancestral homeland had been engrained in me since childhood, so when I took my first trip to Armenia in 2012, my expectations were extraordinary. My homecoming experience was everything I was told it would be –emotional, strengthening, a feeling of immense connection to the beautiful land and the generously warm people. It was also sobering –harshly exposing the current economic state of Armenia’s citizens, the younger generation’s mass migration to escape extreme poverty and limited opportunity, political corruption, and the lingering remains of the Soviet influence on a nation that only recently gained independence. I gazed upon Mt. Ararat, an adopted symbol of the country, now behind Turkish borders, and felt the weight of the Armenian Genocide on this small country, now almost 100 years later.
Understanding my culture and family history is a common exploration in much of my work. This Should Feel Like Home is a follow-up to my 2004 piece Odaraganeen Sharagan [Stranger’s Song], which related my own feelings of detachment from my Armenian heritage to the detachment of the Armenian diaspora from their homeland as a result of the Genocide. This Should Feel Like Home comments on similar ideas with a new perspective, now nine years later.
The electronic track integrates field recordings I had taken on this trip, from conversations with the locals to folk music to environment.
Samples in Order: duduk lesson in Vernisage marketplace; marching band in Republic Square; announcer at the State Symbols celebration; drinking holy water at Gerard; thunderstorm at Noravank while exploring its graves; tourists throwing wishing rocks at Gerard; church bells, service, and choir at Etchmiadzin; phone conversation with a new friend from Yerevan; tour of Tsitsemakaberd/The Armenian Genocide Museum and Memorial; folk players; villager singing“Hayastan (Armenia)” at Lake Sevan; the National Anthem
– Mary Kouyoumdjian