Spartacus Gayaneh Masquerade suites
Aram Ilich Khachaturian
London Weekend Classics 417 062-2
Not many orchestral pieces drive me to a frantic pitch of delirious delight; this album has a couple of the ones that do.
The Dance of the Gaditanae is one, starting with utterly pure stateliness, moving to a sultry swaying and then a disdainfully proud posing, finally rushing through mad joyous whirling with guns blazing to end in a thunderous mayhem of brass fanfares and cliffhanger drama that scarcely attempts to hold to a set rhythm in fact its ending is nearly the opposite of its beginning. A marvelous piece, and I do love this version (although its the only one Ive ever listened to).
Dawn, Ayeshes Dance is another; in some ways it makes me think of Griegs Anitras Dance, Persianized, but perhaps its closer to Rimsky-Korsakovs Sheherezade, just shifted a little further east. Either way, as well as independently of my comments, this is a robust and gorgeous piece that majestically compels one to dance exotically. And the Lullaby from the same score may be bombastically melodramatic as a lullaby but is exquisitely moving and ends with a strikingly bittersweet purity that doesnt seem to be the likely conclusion after all that pathos.
I dont recall which piece it was that made me buy this album in the first place, although I suppose it was the Sabre Dance from Gayaneh, but Im delighted to have finally found an entrée to Khachaturians works. But I do wish they were published in full-score form for the general public as other composers works are, because then I could rejoice in these pieces even more by following along in the score while the recording plays as I do Ravels La Valse, Debussys La Mer, Stravinskys Le Sacre du Printemps, and others. Dover Publishing, are you reading? Can you help me with this?
Comments © 2005 Mark Ellis Walker, except as noted, and no claim is made to the images and quoted lyrics.