Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Aram Khachaturian, Loris Tjeknavorian, Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra|
Khachaturian: Film Music
A wonderful collection of Khachaturian suites
Caleb Boyd | Centreville, al United States | 12/27/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Khachaturian (1903-1978) was an Armenian composer who came under scrutiny during the reign of Stalin for adhering more to "antipopular" musical styles. His style is similar to Prokofiev's and Shostakovich's; sometimes, his music seems like a blend of the two composers' styles. More modern comparisons to Khachaturian include Basil Poledouris ('Robocop,' 'Hunt for Red October,' 'Conan the Barbarian') and Danny Elfman ('Beetlejuice,' 'Edward Scissorhands'). The Finale of 'Prisoner No.217,' at times, harmonically resembles 'Conan the Barbarian.' I do not recommend this CD as an introduction to Khachaturian's music, rather try a recording of his ballet 'Spartacus.'
The Overture to 'Pepo,' the first track on the album, is perhaps the most beautiful of all the tracks.
'Undying Flame' is a suite of eight small pieces -- the longest, the Finale, being only three and a half minutes in length. 'The battle and Christ' is quite exciting with high woodwind flurries and charging snares and timpani. The Finale begins like an organ chorale with thumping bass and homophonic texture. It builds to a climax of sorts but it isn't very exciting. The final chord features the high woodwinds with horn and string bass. The harp plucks an augmented fourth above the tonic, leaving the final chord very dissonant but still beautiful.
'Secret Mission' is six pieces also of short length. Percussion shines through again, especially in "Surrender." Triplet figures in the trumpets and woodblock provide a galloping-horse effect; nevermind that 'Secret Mission' was a WWII flick. "The pilot" is a wonderful march with syncopation, piccolo and xylophone melody, and a cute brass riff. This suite also has another exciting Finale.
The Overture in 'Admiral Ushakov' contains an interesting pastorale-like melody for clarinet and oboe. "The Battle" is interesting with continuous sixteenth-note licks in the horns. Tubas get a moment to shine here, but percussion and trumpets slightly drown them out. "Funeral" contains beautiful, sombre chord progressions supporting a very 'Russian' melody in the strings. "Russian sailors" contains a march very Mahler-esque in style with timpani playing the tonic and dominant and the horns playing a heroic tune with accents from the trumpets. The Finale is the first on the CD that actually leaves you feeling like the suite has come to its full fruition.
Conversely, the Overture of 'Prisoner No.217' is the first to sound like a true overture with better developed melodies and sections of contrasting mood. "Murder" contains a creepy passage with bass clarinet melody, shivering strings, and a dancing-bone xylophone. "In the prison" continues the dark mood with the shivering strings even higher and an evil downward three-note figure in the lower strings. Percussion begs to burst forth, but that doesn't occur until "Work." The Finale, although not the best Finale on this recording, contains many beautiful moments, especially one passage following a connecting solo cello line.
As a whole, this is a nice collection of Khachaturian's suites, 'Secret Mission' being the most spectacular. Armenians must be proud of their Philharmonic Orchestra, especially its percussion section. The package has great liner notes. The fade in the concert hall can be heard at the end of some tracks, which is a good thing. It makes it seem more like a performance instead of a recording."
Robert S. Johnson | 01/11/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Very imaginative; deeply felt, and pictorial music. The only problem is that these gems weren't long enough. Maybe a good talent can come along and complete the job. Otherwise, not a dud in the lot. While not lengthy, they definitely make for prime "film music"."