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Forty Martyrs: Armenian Chanting from Aleppo on vinyl

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Local musician Jason Hamacher took several trips to Syria before the onset of the civil war to document some of its surviving chant traditions. The first result was Nawa: Ancient Invocations & Forgotten Songs from Aleppo (Lost Origins, $16.98), released last year.

The second volume of The Sacred Voices of Syria is Forty Martyrs: Armenian Chanting from Aleppo (Lost Origins LP, $24.98), recorded in the Forty Martyrs Armenian Orthodox Church right outside the ancient walled city. The earliest chants date to the 5th century, and are in the ancient language of West Armenian, sung by the Very Reverend Yeznig Zegchanian.

The vinyl release is a beautiful, gate-fold package, and the B-Side of the vinyl has an etching from church bas-relief sculptures. It is our way of pointing our customers toward independent vinyl stores for this Saturday’s Record Store Day.

The CD version will come out next month.


NEW: Charles Lloyd, Hilary Hahn, Marc-André Hamelin

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Charles Lloyd, Wild Man Dance (Blue Note Records, $13.98) – Master saxophonist Charles Lloyd achieved great fame in the 1960s—selling lots of records, playing festivals and the Fillmore—with his Forest Flower quartet with Keith Jarrett, Cecil McBee, and Jack DeJohnette. After coming out of retirement in the 1980s, his big, powerful sound on tenor (as well as flutes) has been resurgent, with recent collaborations with pianist Jason Moran, table genius Zakir Hussain, and drummer Eric Harland. His newest album—his first on Blue Note Records—is a song suite that features a new quartet with pianist Gerald Clayton, plus lyra (bowed lute) player Sokratis Sinopoulos, and cimbalom (hammer dulcimer) player Miklos Lukacs.

Nate Chinen wrote a nice profile of the “Zen Knight-Philosopher” in last Sunday’s New York Times.

Hilary Hahn, Mozart 5 & Vieuxtemps 4 Violin Concertos (Deutsche Grammophon, $16.98) – Violinist Hilary Hahn’s newest recital album is dedicated to two of her teachers, Klara Berkovich (who taught her the Vieuxtemps Concerto), and Jascha Brodsky (who taught her the Mozart). She is accompanied by the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, with Paavo Järvi conducting.

Ms Hahn and Ms Berkovich talked about the music and their student-teacher relationship on NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered.

Pianist Marc-André Hamelin is among the most versatile and adventurous pianists on the scene today: He plays the classical repertoire expertly (programs on Chopin, Schumann, and Haydn have been among his recent releases), but has delved deeply into lesser known repertoire as well, with a special focus on pianist-composers like Alkan, Godowsky, Medtner and Busoni.

He has two new releases:

Mozart: Piano Sonatas (Hyperion, 2 CDs, $19.98) has already been receiving rave reviews; there are wonderful renditions of eight Sonatas, as well as two Rondos, a Fantasia, and a Gigue. And on SHOSTAKOVICH: Piano Quintet and String Quartet No. 2 (Hyperion, $18.98), Mr. Hamelin joins the  Takács Quartet to play some of Shostakovich’s powerful chamber music.


Raffle: tickets to Elvis Perkins at 6th & I

CD CoverNext Tuesday, April 21, singer and songwriter Elvis Perkins will perform at Sixth & I Synagogue. He’s touring behind his new album, I Aubade (MIR Records, $11.98), his first since 2009’s Elvis Perkins in Dearland. “Aubade” is a song or poem greeting the morning, often with images of lovers parting at dawn. Perkins made the evocative album “home-style” on a 4-track recorder, his vocals backed by simple fingerpicked guitars, but also layers of harmony vocals and coloristic use of flute, celeste, and harp.

If you’d like to win the tickets, please email, with ELVIS in the subject field.