The flawless execution of these scores by Alan Hovhaness, courtesy of violist Christina Fong and pianist Arved Ashby, opens the doors on unknown dimensions for the ones who are used to the sterile, calligraphic pretentiousness of twentieth century’s academia. For their large part not excessively long, these pieces could be seen as snapshots of a gradual research, a spiritual quest that distanced this composer from practically every other artist of his era. An oriental influence characterizes almost the totality of the melodic lines, typically underlined by shimmering piano chords or doubling themselves in intertwining weaves. There are a few exceptions, as in the final “Three visions of Saint Mesrob”, where the use of clusters adds a gentle touch of mystery to the rarefied atmosphere. This music sounds like if it was played in an ancient time, its magic melancholy evoking closed-room silences and intense portraits.