Friday, July 23, 2010
In search of the mythical mountain
Mythical resting place of Noah's ark, frontier post between East and West, witness of genocide, Mount Ararat certainly radiates a powerful aura. Many musicians have experienced the aura, including Tigran Mansurian, Djivan Gasparyan and Alan Hovhaness with their laments for Armenia, the Armenian Church with its Divine Liturgy, and Benjamin Britten and Igor Stravinsky with their evocations of the Flood.
Dutch author Frank Westerman too fell under the spell of Ararat and his obsession is chronicled in Ararat - In Search of the Mythical Mountain, an absorbing mix of memoir, meditation, history and travelogue. Reader reviews on Amazon are sometimes entertaining but rarely informative. The only review for Frank Westerman's meticulously researched and elegantly written book, which ranges from intelligent design through personal belief to the first genocide of the twentieth century, describes it as "Interesting, but a little anti-climactic." Quite so.
* Soundtrack - Oror by the father of contemporary Armenian music Komitas Vardapet, played on piano by Tigran Mansurian, read more in ECM in focus.
** I have not read it, but Frank Westerman's book on literature under the Soviets, Engineers of the Soul looks very promising.
This post is available via Twitter on @overgrownpath. Ararat - In Search of the Mythical Mountain was borrowed from Norwich Millenium Library. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk