Prayer of St. Gregory, Op.62b

Alan Hovhaness (1911-2000)

The Prayer of St. Gregory, a five-minute work for trumpet and strings, began life as an intermezzo in Hovhaness’ opera Etchmiadzin, composed in mid-1946, and premiered in New York in October of that year. The present excerpt, described by Hovhaness as “a prayer in darkness,” was soon extracted as a separate work, and is one of his most popular short pieces. The personage referred to in the work’s title is St. Gregory the Illuminator, who at the beginning of the fourth century brought Christianity to Armenia. This calm work, in a moderate tempo, begins with gentle string chords, chorale-like, in Hovhaness’ unmistakable modal melodic and harmonic vein, over which a slow trumpet melody gradually unfolds itself. ~ Chris Morrison, Rovi