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Aram Khachaturian

June 6, 1903 - May 1, 1978
born in Tiflis, Russia, composed during the Modern period
Although he was indicted (along with Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and a number of other prominent Soviet musicians) for "formalism," in the infamous Zhdanov decree of 1948, Aram Khachaturian was, for most of his long career, one of the Soviet musical establishment's most prized representatives. Born into an Armenian family, in Tbilisi, in 1903, Khachaturian's musical identity formed slowly, and, although a tuba player in his school band and a self-taught pianist, he wanted to be a biologist, and did not study music formally until entering Moscow's Gnesin Music Academy (as a cellist) in 1922. His considerable musical talents soon manifested themselves, and by 1925 he was studying composition privately with Gnesin himself. In 1929, Khachaturian joined Miaskovsky's composition class at the Moscow Conservatory. Khachaturian graduated in 1934, and before the completion, in 1937, of his postgraduate studies, the successful premieres of such works as the Symphony No. 2 in A Minor "With a Bell" (1935) and, especially, the Piano Concerto in D flat Major (1936) established Khachaturian as the leading Soviet composer of his generation. During the vicious government-sponsored attacks, in 1948, on the Soviet Composers' Union (in which Khachaturian, an active member since 1937, also held an administrative function) Khachaturian took a great deal of criticism. However, although he was officially censured for employing modernistic, politically incorrect musical techniques which fostered an "anti-people art," Khachaturian's music contained few, if any, of the objectionable traits found in the music of some of his more adventuresome colleagues. In retrospect, it was most likely Khachaturian's administrative role in the Union, perceived by the government as a bastion of politically incorrect music, and not his music as such, which earned him a place on the black list of 1948. Nevertheless, Khachaturian made a very full and humble apology for his artistic "errors" following the Zhdanov decree; his musical style, however, underwent no changes. Khachaturian joined the composition faculty of the Moscow Conservatory and the Gnesin Academy in 1950, and that same year he made his debut as a conductor. During the years until his death in 1978 Khachaturian made frequent European conducting appearances, and in January of 1968 he made a culturally significant trip to Washington, D.C., conducting the National Symphony Orchestra in a program of his own works. Khachaturian's characteristic musical style draws on the melodic and rhythmic vitality of Armenian folk music. Although not adverse to sharp dissonance, Khachaturian never strayed from a basically diatonic musical language. The Piano Concerto and the Violin Concerto in D Minor are truly Romantic works, virtuosic, clear, and unaffectedly expressive, remaining therefore popular and frequently performed composition. Of course, many neither of these works matches the popularity of the famous "Sabre Dance" from the ballet Gayane, which made Khachaturian a household name during World War II. His other works include film scores, songs, piano pieces, and chamber music. The degree of Khachaturian's success as a Soviet composer can be measured by his many honors, which include the 1941 Lenin Prize, for the Violin Concerto, the 1959 Stalin Prize, for the ballet Spartacus, and the title, awarded in 1954, of People's Artist. ~ Blair Johnston, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Khachaturian Violin Concerto

Disc 1
Title: Piano Concerto In D Flat Major (also Arranged For 2 Pianos)
Title: Violin Concerto In D Minor (also Arranged For Violin & Piano)
Disc 2
Title: Masquerada, Suite From The Incidental Music For Orchestra (Or Piano)
Title: Symphony No.2 In A Minor ("Symphony With Bells")
x

Track List: Khachaturian: Gayne (Complete Ballet); Selections from Spartacus; Masquerade Suite

Disc 1
Title: Gayane, Ballet In 4 Acts
Disc 2
Title: Spartacus, Ballet
Title: Masquerada, Suite From The Incidental Music For Orchestra (Or Piano)
Title: Russian Fantasy, For Orchestra

Comments

ilana1998
One of my favorite pieces of classical music. I can't get enough of it; it's so deep. Haha.
amesrobi
favorite song
Every time it comes on I can't stop admiring its phases of excitement of passion and also misery. I don't know why I love this song so much it really just sinks in my skin and makes me feel love yet despised. Truly beautiful.
When I hear this piece of music, I can definitely visualize a waltz between two people are adversarial towards each other....but yet are still strangely attracted to one another.
Some Horrid comments..To l s t o y Anna K .was tragic ..im not paranoid and tragic ,for i love unconditiona l l y ..So many Anna's must of been his Rosebud...li k e Cane...
edsheds
I picture a ballroom scene as well - one of a tortured waltz between Vronsky and Anna from Anna Karenina :)
Well said rebos707!
rebos707
I'm picturing a dramatic, elegant, ballroom dance between foes. Whispering in each others ear, their plans to conquer their partner.
Wow! What a beautiful music!!!
edoisa6
Armenian genius!
bob52351
Wonderful. Such listening enjoyment.
His music tears at my soul with haunting beauty that leaves me speechless.
lkgrebnel
The 1948 gang of thugs wanted music they understood; i.e., lets march to the factory, the cabbage fields and so forth.
FYI: he was born in Tiflis, Georgia. Not Russia.
Thank you.
lukeff
Absolutely stirring music!
Masquerada is a soviet industrial ballet...
Absolutely beautiful music! I'm always completely enchanted with the great emotional and all encompassing beauty of Khachaturian ' s music. -Felicia
wow...
1012790612
we did a ballet dance on this song for the sebastopol ballet show. com see the next show in june i will be in it!
naddys143
Beautiful!
knetic15
love it!
the best advice I can give is don't listen to his music while doing something important because you'll end up stoping whatever you're doing and just enjoying music!
nkoulian
How did Azerbaijani get into Khachaturian ' s bio? His music has no Turkic influences whatsoever.
slopetersons
proud to be Armenian!
would have been great hollywood composer
Հրաշալի ստեղծագործու թ յ ո ւ ն
Amazing!
Love the energy!
troymoeller
talented
Pure energy!
I was introduced to Khatchaturia n ' s music as a senior in high school, 1958, playing the Waltz from the Masquerade Suite with the New York State All-State orchestra. When Pandora puts on any of his music, I drop whatever I'm doing, close my eyes and wallow in it.
elsbeth.hage l s i e b
I love it!
I grew up on Khatchaturia n ' s music. He is the great road that leads to symphonic composition for young people. His MASQUERADE is my favorite work of his ballets - the waltz is as good as it gets. And for a violinist the Violin Concerto is the greatest workout you can have, and one of the most moving pieces of writing in the 20th century.
He is the greatest. His music makes much more sense when you know the culture and the history of Armenia. I am a proud Armenian.
122183710
A genius, and one that composer John Williams borrowed phrases from often.
How haunting.... K h a c h a t u r i a n ' s music is so emotional... . . G a y a n e ballet is a treasure.... .
Makes me WISH I was an Armenian! Hoo-ah!
he is great!
122183710
Oh, to wske up to such as this every morning...
Aram's "Gayane Ballet Suite - (Adagio)", as used in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey is a highlight for me....
firezdog
The Concerto in D is wonderful!
Makes me proud to be Armenian.pea c e

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