Panosian and the Providence of His Story—October 10, 2019

The 2019 Bob Jones University Homecoming Concert traces the hand of Providence through story and song in a one-of-a-kind multimedia concert experience telling a tale of remembrance, resilience, and redemption in the lives of two families affected by the Armenian Genocide (1915-1920). Dr. Ed Panosian, beloved history professor at BJU for over five decades, and singer/songwriter Mariam Matossian together share an unforgettably heart-warming story of perseverance in persecution, divine protection, and the fragile but flourishing culture of a people preserved.

Paul Radford, Director | Michael Moore, Conductor

Introduction—Edward Panosian Interview (0:00)
1st Movement—Hovhanness: Exile Symphony—BJU Orchestra (06:37)
Armenian Genocide Explained—Edward Panosian Interview (15:15)
2nd Movement—Hovhanness: Exile Symphony—BJU Orchestra (20:56)
Edward Panosian’s Family Survival—Interview (24:28)
3rd Movement—Hovhanness: Exile Symphony—BJU Orchestra (33:00)
Genocide Outcome—Edward Panosian Interview (42:40)
Lord, Have Mercy—Mariam Matossian (48:40)
Dle Yaman—Mariam Matossian (58:10)
A Bride’s Song—Mariam Matossian (01:08:39)
Edward Panosian’s Testimony—Interview (01:14:24)
Armenia—Mariam Matossian (01:23:55)
Partridge—Mariam Matossian (01:27:04)
Sunshine—Mariam Matossian (01:37:28)

Alan Hovhaness, a prolific American composer of Armenian descent, penned his first symphony in 1937 to commemorate the Armenian Genocide. Structured in three sections, the original headings of “Lament,” “Conflict” and “Triumph” were dropped from the movements when the composer revised the work in 1970. But the work’s original title, Exile Symphony, was retained as an enduring tribute to those who perished in the atrocities of 1915–1920. Long solo clarinet lines in the opening section intone a haunting lamentation while harp and strings march in quiet procession, interrupted by menacing chords from the brass—perhaps a musical depiction of the notorious death marches into the desert. Hovhaness replaced the original second movement (“Conflict”) with an entirely different grazioso movement in the revised version. Here the composer seems to reminisce on happier times with an ancient but gentle pastoral melody of a shepherd’s pipe wafting across the beautiful Armenian countryside. The final movement opens with the lament and terror of the first, out of which emerges a stately hymn, first struggling in broken statements to be heard, but eventually culminating in the exultant paean of a people triumphant in the face of persecution. As the closing chords of the hymn die away, we hear the hollow sound of two clarinets quietly lingering in the air as if to say, “remember.”

Nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award and two Canadian Folk Music Awards in 2008, Mariam Matossian is an example of the musical treasures that exist in the world next door. Born and raised in Vancouver, Mariam has been collecting traditional Armenian folk songs and creating her own melodies since she was a child. Most of the traditional songs she sings have been passed down through her family—songs that have been favorites of her grandmother and her mother, and now they have become her own favorites. With over ten years of training in classical voice, Mariam brings the range and control of a classical singer to the spontaneity and passion of the folk tradition and combines the two to produce a synthesis that has earned her rave reviews from everyone who has heard her. Mariam has released two recordings, Far From Home and In the Light, both a collection of timeless Armenian folk songs that she has reinterpreted and new songs that she has written. Her recordings, which have been praised for their “emotional resonance” and “impressive” moving arrangements, have received airplay across Canada, the United States, Europe and the Middle East. She has performed at festivals across Canada and in the United States with acclaimed musicians including Elliot Polsky, River Guerguerian, Chris Rosser, Eliot Wadopian, and John Berberian. Mariam is delighted to share the beauty and richness of her beloved Armenian culture with a world audience. | The BJU Division of Music is a community of students and faculty committed to pursuing and sharing the beauty of God through musical excellence and redemptive artistry.

Program available here:

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