Turkish Label to Release CD Titled ‘Medz Yeghern: 1915 Oratorio’

ISTANBUL (Hurriyet)–A music label in Turkey is preparing to release an album by world-renowned Armenian composer Khacadur Avedisyan, titled Medz Yeghern-1915 Oratorio, dedicated to the Armenian Genocide of 1915, the Turkish Hurriyet Daily reported on Thursday.

“I have attempted to release the album in Turkey for many years,” Hasan Saltuk, the owner of Kalan Music, told Hurriyet. “It was not easy to reach the composer’s family. Also, there were no original records of the album.”

Saltuk accidentally found the original records during a trip to Paris. With the help of a friend’s son from the Netherlands, Saltuk reached Avedisyan’s son, Mikayel Avedisyan. He then encountered another problem. The composer willed that the album should be released only with the title “Genocide – 1915 Oratorio.”

That would not have worked in Turkey, where it is illegal to describe as Genocide the systematic massacre of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turkish government between 1915 and 1923. Saltuk said he was able to persuade Avedisyan’s son to allow the album to be released with the title “Medz Yeghern – 1915 Oratorio” rather than “Genocide – 1915 Oratorio.”

“I was sued many times because we released music belonging to different Anatolian ethnic cultures in their original languages,” he said.

Khachadur Avedisyan was born in 1926 in Armenian’s second largest town, Gyumri. At 25, he was the first Armenian artist to win gold medals at international competitions in Berlin and Moscow. As well as classical music, he worked on Armenian folk music and played traditional folk instruments. He formed the folk music unit at the Gomidas National Conservatory in Yerevan in 1978. He worked as the art director of the National Dance Group and later for Tatul Altunyan Music and Dance Group in 1958. He continued composing music at the same time.

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