Saturday Morning Listening: Khachaturian Wrap-Up

Ok… I know it’s not morning, but I can say that I was inspired this morning to share this with you, right?  I’ve been meaning to tell all of you about this fascinating documentary on Khachaturian that I once caught on the Documentary Channel  late one Saturday night.  I found it riveting and stayed with it until the very end (not usual for me when it comes to some documentaries).

Khachaturian Documentary

Khachaturian Documentary

In this 83-minute film, the narrator speaks for the composer (kind of eerie) and later in the credits, it reads that the text actually came from Khachaturian’s own writings. Interesting!  It weaves a fascinating tale of Khachaturian’s life in the Soviet Union and how he dealt with the accusation from the Communist Central Committee as being an “anti-people” composer.   How can that be when his music is filled with Armenian folk tunes?  And later in the wake of the decree, you learn how he was ordered to return to Armenia for “re-education.”

This documentary plays more like a movie and contains some really interesting archival footage like Khachaturian’s actual funeral with Kabalevsky in attendance, shots of Prokofieff and Shostakovich, Khachaturian conducting his own music, and much more.  Khachaturian’s music cleverly illustrates the various scenes along the way. After watching it I had much sympathy for Khachaturian and the devastation he felt after being denounced by his own government.

Here’s an excerpt from YouTube of the opening…

It appears that most of the movie is on YouTube (Type “Aram Khachaturian Biography” in the Search box): .  Skip the bonus section with the blond playing the finale of Khachaturian’s Piano Concerto in a performance that amounts to a fashion show on tape.


* Don’t forget!  The Bartok “For Children, Vol. 1” Play-Along begins on Monday, Oct. 6.  Read all about it HERE.


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