Lousadzak, Op. 48 - Alan Hovhaness

.Lousadzak, Op. 48, is a compelling solo piano piece composed by Alan Hovhaness, a prominent 20th-century American composer known for integrating elements from Eastern music into Western classical music tradition. This piece, whose title translates to "The Coming of Light", was composed in 1944 and showcases Hovhaness's fascination with mysticism and ancient cultures. It stands out in the piano repertoire for its unique approach to tonality and texture, embodying the composer's individualistic style that blends Eastern musical concepts with Western forms.

The Origins and Premiere of .Lousadzak

Alan Hovhaness, driven by his Armenian heritage and an avid interest in spirituality and philosophy, composed .Lousadzak, Op. 48, as an expression of his deep mystical experiences and his vision of a universal music. The work was premiered in New York City, bringing Hovhaness significant attention and acclaim for its innovative approach and the emotional depth it conveyed. The piece marked a departure from the mainstream Western classical music of its time, introducing audiences to a new, contemplative sound world.

The premiere of .Lousadzak was not just a musical event but a cultural phenomenon, introducing the notion that music could serve as a bridge between the tangible and the spiritual. Hovhaness's unique compositional voice was recognized for its ability to transcend traditional boundaries and offer listeners an immersive, transcendent experience.

Dissecting .Lousadzak: A Theoretical Analysis

Harmonically, .Lousadzak diverges from the conventional Western classical music framework, employing modal scales that are reminiscent of Middle Eastern and Armenian music traditions. This piece does not adhere to the traditional tonal center but instead uses a free-flowing modality that gives it an ethereal quality. The composition utilizes a technique known as "spirit murmur," allowing the pianist to create a continuous flow of sound that seems to transcend the ordinary temporal flow of music.

The structure of .Lousadzak is also noteworthy, as Hovhaness employs cyclic forms and thematic development in a way that is both innovative and reflective of ancient musical practices. The piece explores a wide dynamic range, from the softest pianissimo to the most commanding fortissimo, demanding a high level of technical proficiency and emotional sensitivity from the performer.

Exploring the Enduring Popularity of .Lousadzak

The enduring popularity of .Lousadzak can be attributed to its transcendental quality and its embodiment of Hovhaness's vision of creating music that serves as a unifying force. Its appeal lies in its ability to evoke deep emotional responses and its representation of a harmonious blend of cultural influences. This piece has inspired both performers and audiences to explore music as a means of spiritual and emotional expression, beyond the confines of traditional Western classical music norms.

Furthermore, .Lousadzak challenges both performers and audiences to engage with music on a more profound level, encouraging a deeper appreciation for the nuanced interplay of harmony, melody, and rhythm. Its place in the piano repertoire as a work of significant artistic and cultural value continues to grow, as does its influence on contemporary composers and musicians.


Alan Hovhaness's .Lousadzak stands as a testament to the composer's innovative spirit and his ability to create music that transcends cultural and temporal boundaries. Its unique blend of Western and Eastern musical traditions, coupled with its deeply spiritual essence, ensures its place in the pantheon of significant 20th-century piano works. As both a technical challenge and an emotional journey, it remains a beloved piece in the solo piano repertoire, continuing to enchant and inspire all who encounter its "Coming of Light."

Publication date: 23. 02. 2024