Review / Description
AVET TERTERIAN (1929 – 1994) is a major composer of the late twentieth century’s end. His unique creative vision puts his name in one row among the names of the most outstanding artists of our time. People’s Artist of the USSR and Armenia, Laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Armenia, Aram Khachatryan Award, Professor – Avet Terterian is a true national composer who opened new ways in development of modern symphonic music. His works have entered into world music culture.
Avet Terterian authors eight symphonies (1969 – 1989), No.9 is not finished; two operas – “The Fire Ring” (1967) and “Earthquake” (1984), a ballet “Richard III” (1979), vocal-symphony cycles “Motherland” (1957) and “Revolution” (1960), two string quartets (1964, 1991), chamber-instrumental music. His works many times were performed at the international festivals, listened to in Germany, England, Italy, USA, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, France, Finland, the Netherlands; best concert halls of Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and former USSR major cities hosted his music.
Word – music, music – silence – this was a favorite universal concept of Avet Terterian. With all his creation works he was directed to “silence” and he got through into eternal silence on the ascent of his creative fantasy and on the peak of his absolute glory…
What is music by Terterian? This question has no answer as well as a question what music is in itself. Terterian called his creation work “a way, a road to God”, and definitely this way mankind is still to go.
Creation work of Terterian is spiritual due to being directed to God, however it is deeply humane being also addressed to a human – who is not broken down, humiliated, but ascended by the faith… Lonely, a creative person similar to All Mighty, a personality Zaratustra said about “I love those who is eager to create somebody over than oneself and therefore commits himself to death.”
What lays in the basis of the Terterian music? East and West, rest and activity, wisdom and naivety, calamity and mathematical logic, spirit and reason.
Terterian and time mark this epoch. All attempts to put his name in the frames of the political thaw of the 60′ or the subsequent stagnation of the next twenty years are subject to fail. And may be the only fact that can be considered as reciprocal is awarding the composer with the highest rank of the Soviet State on the very same day the Socialistic Empire actually collapsed. Is it incompatibility of two worlds? May be beyond-of-epoch essence of the Terterian’s music phenomenon. Quite often it was compared, put in one line with the works of the Russian avantgarde composers, canvases of Saryan or Minas, films of Parajanov – but each and every comparison only would emphasize a true scale, proved and still proves impossibility of duplication and exceptionality of the occurrence.
Compositor is a human being… And it is a creator who wins. Quite a lot goes to eternity. Joking and sadness, wisdom of advice, naivety of search in everything and everyone, intelligence, tours – full concert halls and solitude in life. Only faith remains – faith of a creator who did music and our faith in music, that makes it eternal.
David Khandjian, conductor.
Conducting career of David Khandijan (1940-1981) – laureate of the State Award of the Armenian SSR, laureate of the Award of Armenian Komsomol, Merited Master of Arts of the SSRA, artistic director and principal conduction of the State Symphony Orchestra of SSRA (1974-1981) did not last more than one and half decade. Early death did not allow him to make real all his intentions. However, the scale of his achievements is so significant, both in artistic sense and in terms of volume that this allows to reckon him among the most outstanding representatives of national performance school.
David Khandjian, after graduating the Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory majoring in Conductorship with Professor Mikhail Maluntsian (as well as piano department of the same conservatory a little earlier), becomes a stagier of the State Orchestra of Armenia. In 1971 he is found among the laureates of the III All-Union Competition of Competition of Composers in Moscow. In 1972-1973 he masters his skill at Vienna Academy of Music – he received consultations of the courses from G. Swarowski and F. Tscherch.
Due to his enlightening activity, Armenia music lovers first time got introduced to a range of impressive examples of XX century music, such as: “Don Qioxote”, “Death and Enlightening”, “Also speech Zaratustra” by R. Strauss, 1st and 2nd Symphonies by Mahler; “Firebird”, “Petruchka”, “Rite of Spring” and violin concerto by Stanislavsky, “Wonderful Tangerine” by Brartok, works by Gia Kancheli, S. Slominsky (second symphony), N. Sidelnikov, (Russia Fairy-fales).
He interpretations of range of symphonies by Mahler, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, symphonic dances by Rachmaninoff, symphonic episodes from Wagner’s operas are rally unforgettable.
A very special attention David Khandjian was paying to music art of Armenia. His every concert hosted works by Armenia composers: symphonies of E. Mirzoyn, A. Arutyunian, Ed. Ogneian, L. Saryan, L. Astvatsaryan, symphines No. 4, 5 by Ajemian, Preludes and Night Music by T. Mansurian, episodes from the ballet “Ara the Beautiful” by G. Yeigazarian.
He was more than ever concerned with music by Avet Terterian. It was nearly a decade of creative cooperation and during these years of Khandjian many times concerned symphonies No. 1, 2, 3, and 4 (dedicated to him). Avet Terterian wrote: “He has got a magnetic power cable to keep audience in tension. Immense, explosive like power. And thoughtfulness, plunge into sound, its philosophical meaning–I think, a basic quality of a conductor, which is necessary for performance of my music. The conductor – philosopher, thinker, where necessary calm, where necessary bold and boisterous, but always beautiful, very inventive – he was chaste and natural.
Second Symphony (1972) is a result a totally new composing method. I worked entirely without an instrument, in absolute, one can say, space silence. When I now listen to this work, I can visuali/e myself in this very creative moment. I remember what a powerful creative tension it was, on the peak of which, the work in fact comes to you itself, being even ready – with the beginning and ending and you just go to write down what you have heard. This is a condition when a communicative function of the conscience is turned off, but the deepest stratums do work, as well as all the components responsible for selection, taste, measure and skill capability. But at the time of realization of the intention there is no place for analysis of the separate elements.
Can you in few words present the dramaturgy of the symphony?
Central place is occupied by the second part. Vocal monody – it is directed to the past, future and present. I perceive the first and third parts as “arrival and exit out of voice”. This is sort of foreword and aftermath. Since the soliloquy is very pure, absolute and primary…
Some musicians assume that in the second part I used sharakan, other think it is folklore. Well, there is typical intonation coming from sharakan, but only at the end, – the whole monody is created by me. How I did it, how it was born is difficult to say, since it was not a creation process, it was an “advent” at the time of creative tension.
Third part is a deep plunge into the condition when a new feeling of inside dynamics development in a static one comes. It seems to me that the Second symphony determined both my new attitude to music time and especially it can be traced in the third part, when an ostinat movement makes it a separate condition, and customary sensation of the countdown just disappears. Actually music quite a long time sounds inside you; sort of continuing after the work is over. And, by the way, David Khandjian emphasized this feeling at the performance of the symphony at the “Trans Caucasian Music Spring” in Tbilisi. All music notes were played, it was a complete silence but his hand was still moving. The audience was hypnoti/ed and continued “listening” process of the ostinat rhythm of the third part.
At the time of creation of the second symphony my method of thinking, my feeling of time and space has already been determined.
Third Symphony was composed in 1975 and reflects the spiritual condition I found myself alter a sudden death of by loved brother I lerman. There are traces of some ritual there. There are contemplations about life and death.
Something occurred also as a result of direct association. In particular, there are “laughing” French horns in the third part. 1 remember Herman had this Japanese toy, which laughed feverishly. When the tragedy happened, this unnatural laugh, which just was embed into my memory, became a symbol of that terrible, wretched chuckle over the frailty of life, reminding about our bustling around, futility of many of our deeds, and accompanies the tragedy of human death. But there is something which is unending, eternal – and about this, evidently, trombones carry out intimate and wise conversation.
Their enquiring intonations on what immortality is, what the truth is – get one close to a meditative knowledge.
In the second part there arc traces of mourning, it is close to our “voghb”- s -mourning style.
“Crazy, crazy world” ot” the third part…There is something like a party there with the elements of space dance. “It’s a crazy dance” – if we cite Charents. There is an immense power there, which can not be stopped, forcing order or time, which devours everything, and creates and destroys… In the third part there is also something from the hysterics of our age, in the unity of our past, present and future.
Fourth Symphony was composed right after the third one, in 1976. Obviously, being in a deep creative dive. I had not got out of it after the third symphony yet, in consequence the fourth was born. However, if in the third symphony there are traces of the elements that make a light influence -zurna, duduk – an ephemeral shine, then in the Fourth one there is no “entertaining” moments. From outward view everything is clear here. I always considered the Fourth Symphony as totally mine, with my own truth. Symphony is close to me also because its sound atmosphere leaves the listener alone with himself, and there starts study of one’s Id through sound and silence, music of space and earth.