Happy Birthday Aram!! Who is Aram you’re wondering? He is Aram Khachaturian the Armenian composer, and he was born on this day in 1903. That’s right, I’m gonna get “my Armenian” out for today’s “Music Monday”.
Khachaturian’s life saw the transition from Imperialist Russia to the Soviet Union. Although he was a Communist, Khachaturian eventually had to endure the inevitable, abhorrent downside of life as an artist under a Communist regime. He along with fellow composers Dmitri Shostakovich and Sergei Prokofiev, found themselves on the government’s shit list. In 1948, the Central Committee issued a decree denouncing the three men for introducing “bourgeois”, “formalist”, and “decadent” elements into their work. The composers were forced to apologize to the committee – yes, APOLOGIZE for their music. Because the government didn’t approve. The government. Didn’t. Approve.
Khachaturian was humiliated and devastated by the experience and was said to have never fully recovered. But it wouldn’t be Communism if it didn’t break a person’s spirit, right? In his own words, Aram Khachaturian said, “Those were tragic days for me… I was clouted on the head so unjustly. My repenting speech at the First Congress was insincere. I was crushed, destroyed. I seriously considered changing professions.”
Anyway, this video is wonderful. It’s the Acapulco Philharmonic Orchestra performing Khachaturian’s amazing “Masquerade Suite”. It is both a gem of a composition and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. I really like the conductor. And check out those palm trees!