Khachaturian's Birthday Listening on NPR


Khachaturian's Birthday

Listening on NPR I discovered that today is Aram Khachaturian's birthday. Khachaturian, an Aremenian composer who used a large number of folk melodies in compositions that defy categorization, is mostly remembered for a single wild composition that could be heard nearly anywhere--"The Sabre Dance" from the Ballet Gayaneh. However, listening to the NPR piece I was reminded of the lush orchestration and flat out gorgeous beauty of some of the music from Spartacus. The report said that there have been no recordings of his major works since about the 1960s and decried this as a great musical loss. From what little I know, I'm inclined to agree. Like Tchaikovski, I suspect that a large dose of Khachaturian would begin to pall, but a sprinkling would help to ameliorate some of the excesses of his compatriots Shostakovich and Prokofiev--both quite fine, but much more "modern" in their works.

You can go here to listen to brief excerpts of the work. The link is an "occasional piece" so it may not last long. But I can tell you that I would really like to go seek out the Naxos recordings of Khachaturian's work now. For those with more refined tastes, I apologize, but the "Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia" is always evocative--typified in the broadcast as "Neo-romantic".

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on June 5, 2003 7:25 AM.

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