April 01, 2008

Best headshot ever

Today's nominee is Komitas, the pioneering Armenian composer and musicologist. I've run across his music before, but I had never seen this particular photo of him until today. It's not just the monk's hood—it's the look of bemused disdain, as if someone in the room has just asked an incredibly tactless question.

Komitas had an undeserved end—he died in a Paris psychiatric hospital, mentally crushed by his experience during the Armenian nightmare of 1915—but his music shows equal parts austerity and humor, and he had a particularly searching ear for rich and unusual sonorities. (Lots of good listening here.)

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