New UT Dean Returns to a Prelude

Published: Jun 2, 2009
 In 1973, Dr. Haig Mardirosian recorded what many classical music collectors consider a preeminent performance of the complete organ works of Johannes Brahms. Thirty-five years later, the internationally renowned concert organist and new dean of the College of Arts and Letters had the rare opportunity to re-record the masterpiece.

The resulting recording was released last month on the Centaur Records label, among the oldest and largest independent classical labels in the United States. Mardirosian recorded the collection at the Church of the Ascension and St. Agnes in Washington, D.C., on a pipe organ built by Orgues Létourneau.

“The athleticism of making music is driven by youth,” Mardirosian said, “but the person who has the greatest insight into the meaning of those movements is someone older.”

When Centaur Records inquired about a new box-set recording of the famed composer, Mardirosian delighted in the possibility of a poetic variation on his young adulthood.

“It’s a really wonderful opportunity to revise and prove that people actually change, and their viewpoint about art changes,” he said.

The 50-minute recording features Brahms’ famous choral preludes and fugues for the organ and includes the prelude on “Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen,” recognizable as a Christmas carol.

Mardirosian, who has his own artist page on iTunes, has released more than a dozen recordings throughout his career. His recordings have been broadcast on ABC-TV, the BBC, PBS and the Voice of America. He regularly contributes reviews and feature stories to music industry publications, including a monthly column in The American Organist.

Mardirosian comes to UT from American University and begins his post as dean on July 1. He looks forward to performing recitals and possibly recording on the 3,184-pipe, 45-foot Dobson organ in the Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values, which is under construction.

“This Dobson organ – make no mistake – is going to be a very important instrument,” he said.

“The Complete Organ Works of Johannes Brahms” (2009) is available for purchase by Centaur Records, and individual tracks are available for download on iTunes (keyword search: Haig Mardirosian).