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Which leaves Confessing with Faith, subtitled Seven Prayers from St Nerses Shnorhali's Prayer-book
[listen -- CD2 track 4, 2:50-4:12],
and performed by the combined forces of Kim Kashkashian, once again, and the Hilliard Ensemble. The text constitutes a testament of faith which reaches across the centuries, from the eleventh century patriarch and poet who wrote it to the contemporary composer who both endorses it and enhances its power with his music. The performance is exemplary. Counter-tenor David James, in particular, has never sounded better. The combination of his voice with the lower register of the viola sends shivers down the spine.
In all this music there is great discipline, even austerity. There is beauty too, sometimes lyrical, sometimes fiercely impassioned: Mansurian is a composer steeped in the culture and history of Armenia and the dreadful sufferings of its people. But out of these specifics he draws those threads which unite us all and speak to our essential condition. Sunt lachrymae rerum ...