Coevals about Komitas

Was he ideally a worker, ethnographer, scholar, or a composer? Even though Komitas appeared in the music world as an author of the Armenian songs’ arrangements, I persist that first of all he was a composer. His method was the only right way for a person to choose, who had an enormous zeal to reveal the harmonic and polyphonic style that were appropriate with their nature to the authentic Armenian folk song.


— Thomas Hartmann, composer

He lived in one of the old monastery monk cells, in a room on the second floor. Even though the room was decorated with the rugs and paintings, but the artist himself lived, let’s say, in a Spartan lifestyle: he was content and abstemious in eating, didn’t consume alcohol and didn’t smoke. Both in spring and in winter times, he slept with the window open, and, most importantly, he laid directly on the floor without a mattress and pillow. He was very neat in notation, wrote on the paper lined by him so beautifully that it was simply possible to prepare cliché from his manuscripts.


— Garegin Levonian, littérateur, art critic

Komitas was a deep ocean of exceptional human virtue. He was very diligent, strong willed, sincere, kind hearted, friendly, nice and modest to everyone. He was a puritan and a great patriot. Besides his musical talent, he had also other abilities: he was a poet and a comedian actor, famous to us as farce. Komitas was highly witty, cheerful and prompt and beloved among both adults and juniors of the Seminary. Komitas had unique delightful voice and enjoyed Khrimyan Hayrik’s [Mkrtich Khrimyan, former Catholicos of All Armenians] private sympathy. Following Khirmyan Hayrik’s instruction, Komitas led the church choir on religious holidays and took the responsibility for the psalm songs sung from the altar and the gospel readings.

He was a famous folk dancer among the teachers of the Seminary. The male bold, imposing sways and dances with heavy swings and fighting swords up to the dances of rustic women will remain unforgettable forever with their familiar voice melodies and the gentle movements of body and hands.


— Hrachya Adjarian, Armenian linguist