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Mikael Ayrapetyan

A Whole in 12

World Premiere recordings

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Armenian pianist Mikael Ayrapetyan has become internationally recognised for performances of his country’s music all over the world with his Secrets of Armenia project. Ayrapetyan’s piano cycle A Whole in 12 is special to his artistic life, being both a deeply personal and universal story told in scenes that range from inner peace and feelings of endless space, to all-consuming creative impulses and the magic of Christmas, contrasting vibrant textural complexity with profoundly expressive lyricism.



There comes a moment in the life of every musician when there is a need to express their inner feelings. At this moment music is born: music that reflects the understanding and perception of these feelings, and the world of the musician. A Whole in 12 is a story about the images that exist in our lives. The piano cycle A Whole in 12 was written in 2018. The twelve pieces are interconnected by a single meaning that reflects a significant period in my life. Various techniques are used for depicting these musical images: the cycle contains pieces of a fixed, static nature—The Lady Plays, Arousal and First Snow—in these works, the musical image is achieved by an ostinato accompaniment with a prevailing melodic line. There are also texturally richer works—Autumnal, Longing, and Christmas Eve—where I use more technical complexity, chord technique and various rhythmic elements, enriching the musical image. In Autumnal, the gradual development of the texture leads to an epic climax saturated with melodic octave figurations, depicting various autumn colours. The melodic line is created from a special feeling expressed in a G sharp minor tonality. In The Lady Plays, I portray an image of a girl at the piano who expresses her feelings through a bright melody. The grand piano is located in a hall with practically no lighting, which conveys a special atmosphere. Longing is the dominant piece in the cycle. In it, specific rhythmic figurations and textured accompaniment are used to depict a rush, a desire for a goal, that absorbs the artist’s mind. Everyone faces the difficulty of a choice at one time or another. The piece Dilemma tells how hard it can be to make this choice, and the sacrifices that one may have to make. Arousal depicts a special sentiment. A feeling that every one of us has experienced. Here a bare minimum of texture is used in the accompaniment, preferring the melodic line while creating the feeling of stillness and immobility. The piece Prayer is very close in spirit to Arousal. Also here, a simple melodic line is used to reveal an inner, intimate appeal. Clouds personifies inner peace and contemplation. In it, images of fleeting clouds and their aesthetics are brought into the inner world of a person. The following two pieces—First Snow and Christmas Eve—are interrelated. In the first of these, I have used the principle of musical quotation: it is an introduction, as if anticipating Christmas Eve. The first snow at Christmas is always magical. Totality reveals the inner world of the artist—an infinite universe. The feeling of endless space creates an ostinato accompaniment. Rain and Rendezvous is an illustration of a meeting in the rain, aiming to express emotions and feelings that are inherent and dear to all people. The cycle is completed by Finality. This is the end of the artist’s story—a culmination of images and feelings.


Mikael Ayrapetyan

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