Album: Tribute, Instrumental, 1997

“I remember when I was young, my father would take me for these long walks up on the Greek mountains, and during those times, he would try to teach me about life. He was always trying to teach us simplicity and appreciation for nature, and he liked to say that the best things in life are available to everyone, because they are in silence, like truth, imagination, creativity, love, kindness, compassion; so, you see, greatness has nothing to do with success or money or possessions. The next piece of music celebrates the greatness that is inherent in all of us. It will feature our conductor, Mr. Armen Annasian on violin, and it’s called Tribute.”

A sweeping string section announces the arrival of a middle-aged father and his young son at a lush green valley at the base of the Greek mountains with open skies and a stunning panoramic view of the scenes. As they emerge closer to the hills the high-pitched female voices enter soaring above the strings gradually elevating the entire atmosphere to new heights as the boy is filled with awe at the magnificence of the mountains.

Then the strings and female voices relax into a lighter mood; and the Piano takes over gently as the father and son begin their trek along a rugged path up the mountains while the strings sustain a pulsating 4/4 rhythm as if to give the happy hikers a supportive thrust. Then an innocently short statement on the oboe, perhaps the son makes his first feelings known, ‘father, I love our walks up these mountains,’ to which the cellos movingly respond in their deep voice ‘yes, my dear, I too love these walks with you, we will do this often, and I can teach you so many things about life.’ The violins then continue to converse as the father slowly introduces his son to a variety of topics about life, appreciating nature, human achievements, cultivating noble values and so on and so forth. Then you hear the lessons taught by the strings occasionally be interrupted and punctuated by a clever observation on the Piano, and a proud father acknowledging the boy’s intelligent comment and expands his budding understanding with words of knowledge and wisdom. After he has taught such a lesson, the piano repeats the concept just to make sure he understood it right, and to that the strings jubilantly respond, ‘That’s it! You got it!’ And the father supports his son to enter another significant elevation of the mountain, beautifully symbolizing the spiritual and intellectual growth of the boy as a result of all that he has learnt during the first stretch of their hike. The soaring female voices enter yet again on top of the strings celebrating a triumphant mood to create that atmosphere of elevated consciousness, as the father and son stroll steadily and getting ready for the next stretch of their journey up the mountains.

Again, at the outset of this new stretch you hear the oboe make another statement, and a beautiful bird song on the flute at a distance that captures the attention of the father and son. Then they gently continue their journey up the mountain discussing life with the pulsating strings still lending its supportive thrust. More lessons, affirmations, and jubilant confirmations follow before they reach another stage of elevation as the soaring female voices join the joyful strings to signify another level of achievement of personal growth. The boy has learnt so much more and has reached a new level of understanding of life; the father knows it calls for celebration!

So the conductor himself picks up his violin to teach his son lessons even more profound. And a beautiful virtuoso performance on solo violin animates the father enjoying this opportunity to bring his son ever closer to higher consciousness and greatness; he teaches him how to be loving, accepting and tolerant of people, how to show kindness and compassion because that is what makes people great human beings. He says happiness is not found in material things, but in simple things that are available to all human beings, and as twilight approaches, from the top of the mountain he marvels at the stunning view of the sun setting in the sea, and asks his son how he feels.

“What do you think?”
“It looks….nice,”
“Yes, it’s beautiful, but does it make you feel happy?”
“I …I don’t know,”
“If looking at that makes you feel happy, then you’ll be a very happy man, because there are lots of sunsets to come in your life, but if it takes buying a house or a car…” (Yanni in Words by Yanni and David Rensin, 2002)

And as the sun sets in the distant sea, a relaxed father leads his son down the rugged path, happily wearing a beaming smile on his face while observing the boy silently reflect on the new lessons that he has learned.