Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Contest Literature-Toccata, Aram Khachaturian

Who is the composer and where is he from? Aram Khachaturian(June 6, 1903 – May 1, 1978) (born in Tiflis, Russian Empire) was a Soviet-Armenian composer whose works were often influenced by Armenian folk music. Khachaturian showed such great talent as a young man, that he was admitted to the Gnessin Institute where he studied cello In 1925 Mikhail Gnessin started a composition class at the Gnessin Institute which Khachaturian joined.

In 1929, he transferred to the Moscow Conservatory where he studied under Nikolai Myaskovsky (composition) and Sergei Vasilenko (orchestration), graduating in 1934. In the 1930s, he married the composer Nina Makarova, a fellow student from Myaskovsky’s class. In 1951, he became professor at the Gnessin State Musical and Pedagogical Institute (Moscow) and the Moscow Conservatory.
Aram Khachaturian was enthusiastic about communism. In 1920, when Armenia was declared a Soviet republic, Khachaturian joined a propaganda train touring Armenia, populated by Georgian-Armenian artists. The composer joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1943. His communist ideals are apparent in his works, especially Gayane (which takes place on a collective farm) and the Second Symphony. It was the Symphonic Poem, later titled the Third Symphony, that earned Khachaturian the wrath of the Party. Ironically, Khachaturian wrote the work as a tribute to communism: “I wanted to write the kind of composition in which the public would feel my unwritten program without an announcement. I wanted this work to express the Soviet people’s joy and pride in their great and mighty country.”
He also held important posts at the Composers' Union, which would later severely denounce some of his works as being “formalist” music, along with those of Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitri Shostakovich. These three composers became the so called "titans" of Soviet music, enjoying worldwide reputation as some of the leading composers of the 20th century.
What else have they written that we may already know or have heard? the "Sabre Dance" and an intermediate piano work Ivan Sings, is in many collections.
What is the title? What does it mean? Toccata (from Italian toccare, "to touch") is a virtuoso piece of music typically for a keyboard or plucked string instrument featuring fast-moving, lightly fingered or otherwise virtuosic passages or sections, generally emphasizing the dexterity of the performer's fingers.
What time period is it from? contemporary
What about this piece do you like? TBD
What sounds challenging? TBD

YIKES! I have studied the wrong Toccata! I will post the music as soon as I clear this up!

1 comment:

  1. Hold on everyone! This is the wrong Toccata! More info soon!


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