Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Khachaturian: Masquerade Suite

There was supposed to be some text that went with this post, so here it is. Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978) is identified as a “Soviet composer of Armenian extraction.” He was born and raised in Tblisi, Georgia. He moved to Moscow in 1921 (he would have been in his late teens), he studied music there and by 1936 wrote his first great work, his piano concerto (he would have been in his early thirties). He wrote a lot of orchestral music over the next twenty years including this featured work in 1941.

Now, we all know what was going on in the world of 1941 and probably so did Khachaturian. What's actually not so surprising is that this music seems to fit similar realities being played out on the present social political scene in the world of 2015. While this really is a good performance of this work, its context here is what the music said about the times it was written and what it suggests to us today. These sorts of associations tend to give greater relevance to music written closer to our own time. There may be many out there who may not regard Khachaturian as either a very important or significant composer, but I'd suggest that his music expresses much that is inherently and incontestably part of that emotional realism that falsely and mistakenly is passed off as merely “romantic,” as if to suggest fantasy or fiction. No way! Khachaturian in his own special way was contributing to and extending the drive for expressing emotional realism in music, and in this particular composition, of a lot of fake and crazy emotions connected with false gallantry, heroism and war posturing. Bear all that in mind as you get acquainted once again with an old orchestral war horse of a composition from a time, very sadly and foolishly, very much like our own.

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