Leaving the city of Alaverdi, which for untold eons has provided the entire region with copper from its richly stocked mines, if you cross the 12th-century bridge, taking note as you pass of the four stone cats who languish, carved into its stone balustrade, and then climb the path, you will eventually come to the monastery of Sanahin. Across the valley, the monastery of Haghpat is also visible, and the two stand on opposite sides of a side chasm of the Debet, which flows through Armenia’s northern province of Lori. The name “sanahin” means, according to Wikipedia, “this one is older than that,” an apparent reference to its nearby rival.
It’s been almost a year since I was first there, a few hours after a late winter snowfall. The air was fresh and cool, and in the afternoon sun, water dripped copiously from the tree branches, still heavily bowed by the rapidly disintegrating weight that lay upon them. As I often do when visiting unfamiliar places, I made a sound recording of that atmosphere.
I am pleased to say, that recording has been included in a list of 2016’s “Best Winter Music” on the website A Closer Listen (scroll clear to the bottom):
“The nula filecasts are among the most mysterious online. Uncredited field recordings appear on a regular basis, evocative of time and place. This one comes from Armenia’s Sanahin monastery, where “the late winter snows are wet and heavy, dripping profusely in the afternoon sun.” The recording is a reminder that the change of seasons may also reflect a spiritual shift, with heavy burdens shed, hearts melting, eyes turning again to the sun. Also of interest: nula’s subsequent broadcast, cold fire.”
Music of the winter in Sanahin. Recording by Lloyd Dunn, February 2016 (11'10")
See also the original post on my personal web site.