The music of Aram Khachaturian (1903–1978) has sometimes been dismissed as loud, brash and vulgar. It may not always be very subtle but it is often bursting with bright colours and pounding rhythms which – in numbers like the once-famous Sabre Dance – can be irresistible.Read more…
Khachaturian's most popular works are the suites drawn from his ballet scores 'Gayaneh' and 'Spartacus' – instantly memorable for their insistent rhythms, catchy melodies… and loud percussion, which make them great fun to watch in performance. Try sitting still during the Gayaneh's Lezghinka! There is a great romantic sweep to the surging theme of the Adagio from 'Spartacus' which used to be a concert hall favourite. There are plenty of decibels – and touches of bombast too – in his Second Symphony, given the title "The Bell" for obvious reasons.
But Khachaturian could be subtle too. Listen to the central movement of his Violin Concerto and be transported to an evening in his native Armenia, or the Andante from his Piano Concerto, which features an appearance by that rarest of instruments, the musical saw. Occasionally, it gets substituted with a flexatone which still offers a remarkably eerie effect. And he wrote a wonderful trio for clarinet, violin and piano, full of sinuous melodies.
During his career, Khachaturian fell foul of the ruling Communist Party, but knew how to toe the line with works in memory of Lenin and Stalin, and the tubthumping 'Ode to Joy', far removed from Beethoven's Ninth!
[Due to geo-blocking restrictions, some tracks might be unavailable in certain territories.]