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Aram Khachaturian
The Concerto stood out for its ingenuity and colorful virtuosity that endear it to the performers and guarantee its vitality. The musical piece began to be performed abroad as well, and was universally acclaimed.With name recognition under his belt, Khachaturian masterfully created other works, and scores for movies and plays, such as Lope de Vega’s Valencian Widow, and Masquerade. These masterpieces were followed by the Symphonic Poem with Chorus and Concerto for Violin dedicated to David Oistrakh.

Both Concerto for Piano and Concerto for Violin gained worldwide recognition and were performed by the violinists around the world.

Simultaneously, Khachaturian composed the ballet Happiness, which was first staged in Moscow in 1939, during the Art of Armenia event. This score would later be used as a basis for Gayane.

World War II was an extraordinary influence and inspiration on many composers, and some of their best works were created in those years, such as Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 and Shostakovich’s Symphony No 7. Khachaturian, who had already become one of the top three Soviet composers, created his Symphony No. 2, or Symphony with Bells.

According to Shostakovich, Symphony with Bells was ‘the first of Khachaturian’s works to raise the voice of the tragic to such a level, yet it is also deeply optimistic and jubilatory.’ His Symphony No. 3, written in 1947, was a hymn to the victory.

Khachaturian became quite an authority, and as a Professor at the Moscow Conservatory taught a class that would school other famous composers from Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Romania, and Japan.

Khachaturian’s composition class cultivated individuality, not just professional skills. In addition to creating music, the Maestro led an active civic life and was also a conductor, visiting many foreign countries as well.

In 1956, Khachaturian completed his next, and probably the best-known masterpiece, Spartacus, which earned such accolades as ‘feast of music.’

Dmitri Kabalevski said no other composer could have called to life this story the way Khachaturian had done. The flamboyant and emotionally broad music of Spartacus lives on and brings joy to its listeners.

Khachaturian continued to be acclaimed all over the world, and received many awards for his invaluable contributions to musical art. Yet he continued to create until the very end.

In 1960’s, Khachaturian composed three Concerto-Rhapsodies for violin, cello, and piano with orchestra, and in 1970’s, he composed three sonatas solo. Khachaturian intended to compose an opera, but he could not finish it. He passed away in 1978, a month before his seventy-fifth birthday.

His body laid in state in the Moscow Conservatory that had been his home, and was then transferred to Yerevan where it was laid to rest at the City Pantheon of Armenian Artists.

Thousands of fans bid farewell to their favorite composer to the tunes of his immortal and invigorating Masquerade rather than to a traditional tragic march.

When Khachaturian’s tunes are playing it seem like the Mother Earth is expressing itself. He lived and created for the people and he wanted to be heard and understood.

While many twentieth-century composers rambled in a search for an “original” language, Khachaturian composed music that was clear yet not primitive, comprehensible yet complex.

His priorities were a quick thought, colorful and expressive melody, and clear musical expression, and that is why he had been given the joy of a popular acclaim and of an Artist’s contact with a grateful listener. His music, like that of any other classic, will forever bring the gift of the fine, emotional, poetical, and colorful world.

As His Holiness Vazgen I of glorious memory, the Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, said in his address on the occasion of Khachaturian’s 70th birthday, “Blessed be your wonderful life and marvelous music that lighted the whole world with its rays and glorified the creative genius of the Armenian people. You will live long, you shall live for ever.”

by Margarita Ter-Simonian
Providence, RI
November 2002

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Writer: Hasmik Muradyan
Editor: Eugenia Melkonyan
 Date Added: Saturday September 09, 2006 07:24:00 

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