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Transcript of Sayat Nova
June 14, 1712-September 22, 1795 (aged 83)
His actual name was Harutyun Sayatyan.
He was born to a peasant family in the village of Sanahin, not far from Tiflis. Which is the capital of Georgia. His mother, Sara, was born in Tbilisi, and his father, Karapet, either in Aleppo or Adana.
As a boy, Harutyun gained regional recognition for his fine singing voice, interpretations of folk songs, writing poetry, and playing the Kamancheh, Chonguri, Tambur.
Sayat Nova actually means "king of songs" in Persian.
Although he lived his entire life in a deeply religious society, his works are mostly full of romantic expressionism.
About 220 songs have been attributed to Sayat-Nova, although he may have written thousands more. He wrote his songs in Armenian, Georgian, Azerbaijani and Persian. (31 of which are in Armenian).
His compositions assume the form of traditional Armenian songs.
Sayat Nova and the King
As his fame spread, Sayat Nova was summoned to the Court of Heracle II, the 18th century King of Georgia. The King placed him in the service of the Court as a Royal Musician and Poet. His popularity and skill even allowed him to become a trusted advisor to the King in matters of state and relations with foreign powers.
Sayat helped forge an alliance between Georgia, Armenia and Shirvan against the Persian Empire.
He lost his position at the royal court when he fell in love with the king's daughter.
In 1759, he became a priest in the Armenian Apostolic Church. His wife Marmar died in 1768, leaving behind their four children.
In 1795, Sayat was killed in the monastery by the invading army of Mohammad Khan Qajar (the Shah of Iran) for refusing to denounce Christianity and convert to Islam.
The Death of Sayat
Sayat is buried at the Cathedral of Saint George, Tbilisi.
Instruments Sayat Played
Amen Sazi Mechn Govats
Kani Vur Jan Im
There was a movie made about him in 1968 called "The Color of Pomegranates" produced by Sergei Parajanov. Originally this movie was banned from the SSR but was played in the United States.
There is a book dedicated about his life written by Charles Dowsett, published in 1997. The title is "Sayat Nova: an 18th Century Troubadour."
There is a street and a music school in Yerevan named after him.
Praised among all instruments, you a perfect ten, kamancha
The Philistine fellow will not see you, you are a taboo for him, kamancha
Strive hard , you will see achieve still more good days, kamancha
Who can wrest you from me? You are the minstrel’s bass, kamancha
Your neck must be of silver, your head inlaid with jewels
Your neck of ivory, your belly decorated with mother of pearl
Your strings plated with gold, your spike filigreed
No one will know your price, you are rubies and diamonds, kamancha
As long as Sayat Nova has his health, you will see many good things, kamancha
Sayat Nova's "Kamancheh" in English
Poems by Sayat Nova
I Beheld My Love this Morning
The Youth and the Streamlet
I Have A Word I Fain Would Say
Thou Art So Sweet
Thy Voice Is Sweet
I beheld my love this morning, in the garden paths she strayed,
All brocaded was the ground with prints her golden pattens made;
Like the nightingale, I warbled round my rose with wings displayed,
And I wept, my reason faltered, while my heart was sore dismayed.
Grant, O Lord, that all my foemen to such grief may be betrayed !
Love, with these thy whims and humours thou hast wrecked and ruined me.
Thou hast drunk of love's own nectar, thy lips speak entrancingly.
With those honeyed words how many like me thou hast bound to thee!
Take the knife and slay me straightway-pass not by me mockingly.
Since I die of love, 'twere better Beauty stabbed and set me free.
For I have no love beside thee-I would have thee know it well.
Thou for whom e'en death I'd suffer, list to what I have to tell.
See thou thwart not thy Creator,-all the past do not dispel:
Anger not thy Sayat Nova, for when in thy snare he fell
He was all bereft of reason by thy whims' and humours' spell.
I Beheld My Love This Morning