Alan Hovhaness

And God Created Great Whales, op. 229 no. 1

            All accomplished composers find their own voices, and thus may be said to be “unique.”   But within this distinction, most are heard as part of a broader stream of musical style, often with familiar traditions, sound, and techniques.  Thus, for most folks Brahms is comprehended as following the path of Beethoven; late Stravinsky or Copland took up much of the direction of many of Schoenberg’s ideas.  However, Alan Hovhaness is refreshingly and often startlingly different from any path of preceding tradition.  He truly is one of a kind, sui generis.  While the major ethnic and musical influences upon his music are generally familiar, it is his unique personal artistic vision, combined with a diverse, mystic, and intense philosophical bent of reflection that pulls tog