Anthem Is Not Peanuts, It Should Have History

05 Sept 06

On September 5 at the Hayeli Club Doctor Henrik Hovanisyan and Poet
Davit Hovanes discussed the adoption of the new national anthem and the
scandal connected with it. There was a shade of dismay in the voice of
Henrik Hovanisyan that he had not been included in the commission of
22, which deals with choosing a new anthem. Davit Hovanes, a member
of this committee, was offended because the song by Komitas "Hayastan
Yerkir Drakhtavair" got only 3 votes and was left out. In answer,
Davit Hovanes resigned from the committee.

The discussion did not grow into a debate because the speakers agreed
on most questions. For instance, everybody knows the members of the
commission, the adoption of the anthem is not an urgent matter, etc.

Henrik Hovanisyan says now is not the time when the questions are
solved confidentially, the symbol of the state should be chosen in
public debates, after a retrospective view into the history. Davit
Hovanes agrees that we need to choose several works from our poetry
and choose the best. And he thinks that the best is "Hayastan Yerkir
Drakhtavair" by Komitas. But since this option was rejected, Davit
Hovanes suggests not changing the anthem, although the change of the
anthem was a "political order", calm down and try again, and this
time include Henrik Hovanisyan in the commission. Henrik Hovanisyan
also agrees that there is no need to hurry. Davit Hovanisyan says,
"It is an abject reason to have a new anthem by September 21."

Generally, Davit Hovanes gave evaluations lavishly. For instance, he
says, the lyrics of the anthem of Soviet Armenia by Sarmen are "dull
and tasteless", "writing lyrics for the music by Aram Khachaturyan
is the same as replacing the leg of a person with two legs with a
prosthesis", "the work by Komitas is stronger than time and it will be
sung forever", "an anthem is not peanuts for everyone to eat". Davit
Hovanes heard the latter from Ruben Atayan, who studied Komitas.

Two out of five variants, which are in the final round, are criminal,
Davit Hovanes says. Armen Soghomonyan, a senior official of the
Ministry of Culture wrote lyrics for the music by Aram Khachaturyan,
"and the commission works in the orbit of the ministry of culture,
and is led by the minister of culture," he says. The second is the
anthem by a person with the nick Ararat B. Davit Hovanes says, "It
took me an hour to get the name of this person from the commission
members, I pointed to him and said he might be a member of the
commission, maybe he is a Turk or a traitor, or was convicted for
five times." Davit Hovanisyan was more obstinate than the members of
the commission. He declined to tell the name to the news reporters,
although everyone knows already that Ararat B is Razmik Davoyan. And
since Razmik Davoyan is a member of the commission, he cannot submit
his work for contest. By the way, after this revelation Razmik Davoyan
is already writing another anthem and signs his real name.

The speakers think it is not worthwhile to return to the music
composed by Aram Khachaturyan because it will bring along the
political past. The present anthem is also political past but we
worship this past. Henrik Hovanisyan is for the music by Mansuryan
written for the poem by Yeghisheh Charents, although he says it is
a difficult and complicated work and very few can sing it. Davit
Hovanes says Yeghisheh Charents wrote a marvelous poem but it is not
an anthem. Aram Khachaturyan is also a genius but "his music was the
anthem of another country."

And people prefer Aram Khachaturyan (43 out of the 85 songs were
written for the music by Aram Khachaturyan) because "people still have
a grudge. Their souls are in that country." "At any rate, "Hayastan" by
Komitas will be the anthem of our country," Davit Hovanes asserted. He
did not specify when and how but he stated that today the anthem
will be chosen by political trade. On the other hand, Davit Hovanes
does not deny that the work of the commission may produce no results,
for quite different processes are underway in the National Assembly.

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