The Armenian Church is one of the most ancient churches of Christendom, founded by the apostles St. Thaddeus and St. Bartholomew between 35 and 60A.D. Furthermore, for centuries, Armenians have been graced to have holy church fathers who walked and worked tirelessly in the path of Christ. Besides spreading the word of God, the Armenian holy church fathers also wrote and composed inspirational spiritual songs as spiritual gifts in gratitude to God. The vast majority of Armenian spiritual songs were authored and composed during the medieval period by unknown authors. Be they known or unknown, through their strong faith in Christ and selfless dedication to the Armenian Apostolic Church, they wrote hymns through which for millennia, the children of our nation accepted Christ as their Savior and became one with Him. In recognition of their priceless devotion, I humbly dedicate this album to them with infinite love, awe and respect.
The present work is comprised of twenty solo melodies, odes and sharagans (hymns). Although many of them are familiar spiritual songs in the Armenian Apostolic Church, I have deliberately selected versions of some spiritual songs that are infrequently heard. Moreover, spiritual songs with similar melodies in each of their stanzas are not sung in their entirety in order to provide space for a variety of other sacred songs in the album.
The recording of this album was made at Saint Thomas Armenian Apostolic Church of Tenafly, New Jersey. I thank the Pastor, the Very Reverend Father Papken Dz. Vartabed Anoushian, Esq. and the Parish Council for their permission to conduct the recordings in the sanctuary. I further thank Father Papken for helping me in the preparation of this booklet, particularly for his translations and transliterations of the sharagans into English, and elucidations that he provided for each of them.
Moreover, I thank Ms. Susan Shamamian, choir director and organist of Saint Thomas Church, for not only spending numerous hours accompanying me on the organ during rehearsals and recordings, but also for her invaluable advice in preparation of this work.
Also, I thank Mr. Marco Granados, an accomplished flutist and sound engineer for directing me, as well as recording, editing and mastering this project.
I had several goals for the preparation of this project, to wit, to introduce the spiritual songs to those unexposed; to present an anthology of centuries-old spiritual treasures of the Armenian Apostolic Church for yearning souls; and, however minuscule in its intent, to contribute for the betterment of Armenian Apostolic Church music. I hope, at least partly, if not completely, to accomplish my goals through this project.
Any weakness in this project lies in my selection of repertoire, vocal and linguistic deficiencies, and editorial shortcomings. I accept all criticisms with respect to the project in their entirety as mine and trust that the beauty of our sacred church music written by our holy church fathers will shine forth through any murkiness imposed by my inadequacies.
Levon M. Capan, M.D.
Norwood. New Jersey. August 15, 2005
Recorded at St. Thomas Armenian Apostolic Church
To order please write or call:
St Thomas Armenian Church
P.O. Box 53, Tenafly NJ, 07670
All production Expenses have been underwritten by Dr. & Mrs. Levon and Ani Capan.
You may purchase the CD, for $15.00 by contacting the Church at (201) 567 – 5446.
Entire proceeds will benefit St. Thomas Armenian Apostolic Church.
CD Track List