Music of Khachaturian and Komitas in Montclair, NJ, Leshowitz Recital Hall

The program of this concert is selected compositions from the Piano art of Armenian composer’s Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978) and Komitas (1869-1935). Being educated as a classical pianist, with the traditional classical repertoire, for me, since early childhood has always been a special interest the Armenian music. I grew up by listening Armenian folk music, and I used to play on piano many of the melodies that I have heard. Later on, as developing my professional pianistic skills, I used to perform many of the solo and chamber compositions of Armenian classics.
In 2015, I started my Artistic research project, focusing on the interpretation of the piano compositions of Khachaturian and Komitas. I have been deeply fascinated and moved by the fact that rich traditions of Armenian folk music exist in their piano music, expressed in so many various layers and forms. Two significant aspects firmly connect the music of Khachaturian and Komitas. These include the imitation of the sound and sonority of Armenian folk instruments, such as Kamancha,Tar, Kanon, (Dap)Dhol, Duduk,
Blul and the Folk Dance elements.
As Komitas believed – “Dance is perhaps one of the most significant manifestations of human existence. It expresses the particular traits of a nation, especially its customs and the level of its civilization. For through its manifold movements dance unconsciously exposes the workings of the spirit”.
During the centuries the Armenian nation has created numerous examples of folk songs. Thanks to Komitas, who has collected thousands of Armenian folk melodies, sacred songs and instrumental melodies created by the people over centuries, have been saved from the loss.
The unique character of the Armenian peasant folklore will be represented through Six dances from Komitas’s Yot Par (Seven Dances for piano). Each of the Dances was popular in a particular region of Armenia.
Komitas himself indicates in the scores in which Armenian folk instrument’s style should be
performed the melody, the motives and the character of the music.
“Manushaki” of Wagharshapat, in style of Dap (Dhol)
“Yerangi” of Yerevan, in style of Duduk and Tar
“Unabi” of Shushi, in style of Tar and Dap (Dhol)
“Marali” of Shushi, in style of Dap (Dhol)
“Shushiki” of Wagharshapat in style of Tar and Dap (Dhol)
“Et u Araj” of Erzrum (Karno), in style of Pogh (Blul) and Tmbuk
In program are also presented Komitas’ four original Songs, in arrangements for piano, published in Yerevan in 2015, by Villi Sargsyan:
“The Sky was Cloudy”
“It’s Spring”
“Go, Walk”
“Apricot Tree”
Aram Khachaturian(1903-1978), has been considered as one of the greatest composers in Soviet era. His compositions, such as piano and violin concertos, “Adagio” from “Spartacus” Ballet, “Sabre Dance” from “Gayaneh” Ballet, made his name world famous. Khachaturian continued to fulfill the mission to represent the Armenian musical rich traditions out in the world through his Art. He has founded in Armenian music several European genres by creating the first Armenian instrumental concertos, first Armenian
Symphony, Ballet, Trio, etc.
The compositions presented in today’s program, are vivid examples of the organic synthesis of the classical genres and free improvisational style, dancing rhythms, freely developed melodic lines inspired by the Armenian folk music. In his letters, Khachaturian referred to Komitas as ”one of his great teachers,” as well as many times highlighted his deep inspiration from Armenian Folk Culture.
Even though Khachaturian has not indicated in the scores the particular imitation of folk instrument’s style in his compositions, (as Komitas did in his “Yot Par”), I find in many aspects the connection with the style of Armenian folk instruments sonority obvious in Khachaturian’s compositions. The inspiration of Khachaturian’s piano music from the art of Armenian folk bards- Ashughs, the freedom of compositional manner, imitation of folk instruments as well as the virtuosic and improvisational expression of his music has a significant impact on my approach to the interpretation of it. It also highlighted my choices regarding the articulation, phrasing and the touch on the keyboard, thus shaping my personal interpretation of Khachaturian’s following compositions:
“Poem” for piano, “Dance”, “Valse-Caprice”,
“Toccata” for piano, as well as three concert
arrangements for piano, published in Yerevan
in 2005, by Villi Sargsyan:
“Lullaby,” “The Girls’ Dance with Tambourine” from ballet “Gayaneh” and “Adagio” from
“Spartacus” Ballet.

The concert is part of KIK(Arts in Context) in UiA.
The Concert is dedicated to the memory of Armenian Genocide.