Khachatur Pilikian – Yeraz (Dream)

I would like to share with you this magnificent Armenian song, (live performance recording here below) titled: YERAZ (Dream) – a most treasured song of the Armenian students in foreign lands, during the second half of the 19th century, dreaming of home, mother and motherland. Recently I performed it yet again in my vocal recital in Athens, last November 2009.

I first heard this song as a child from my mother, Tefarik, born in Khaskal-Izmit (Nicomedia), who had survived the genocide and lived as a child with her mother. Her father Hagop (Jacob) was dragged to serve the Ottoman army as hard labourer (amele tabourou) in Jerusalem. Knitting to survive with her mother in Thessalonica, my mother was ‘found’ by my father when she was in her twenties. My father, Vahan/Israel, born also in Khaskal, survived the Der el Zor hell on earth in the Syrian desert. Orphanaged in Baghdad, he decided to find his childhood beloved come rain or sunshine. He did. They stayed together for over 65 years -now buried together in London (father 95, mother 87). Both parents had very beautiful voices – I have learned many songs first from them. I remember vividly my father’s singing to raise funds for the families of the Armenian soldiers fighting against the Nazis…

Khachatur Pilikian

Here is the poem in English

Poem by Smpad Shahaziz (1840-1897)
Translated by Zabelle Boyajian (1872-1957)

Soft and low a voice breathed o’er me,
Near me did my mother seem;
Flashed a ray of joy before me,
But, alas, it was a dream!

There the murmuring streamlet flowing
Scattered radiant pearls around,
Pure and clear, like crystal glowing—
But it was a dream, unsound.

To her heart she pressed me yearning,
Wiped my eyes which wet did seem;
And her tears fell on me burning—
Why should it have been a dream?
Yeraz (Dream): performed by Khatchatur I. Pilikian and Sona Kupelian accompanying on the piano. Recorded in February 1985, Beirut, in Pilikian’s vocal recital of Fifteen Centuries of Armenian Song.

Click on the this link to listen to the song

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July 2010

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