Masquerade Suite
Aram Khachaturian


Listen to this piece at now

The first of 2 entries for Khachaturian in the Ultimate Hall of Fame. This has appeared in 17 of the 20 charts and reached its highest position of number 180 in 2010.

Khachaturian was enjoying a good period in 1941, musically speaking at least. He had not long written his music for the ballet Happiness and his Violin Concerto. So when he was asked to provide incidental music for the revival of a play by Lermontov, he quickly agreed. Soon, however, he was beginning to regret his decision as the theme for a central waltz in the production eluded him.

There is a section of the plot where Lermontov has the play's principal character, Nina, say, 'how beautiful the new waltz is!' She goes on to describe a work somewhere between sorrow and joy. Perhaps it was the pressure of so naked a line, the plaudit weighing heavily on his shoulders that caused him the sleepless nights. Soon, with a little help from a friendly teacher, he had his theme and its exuberant place at the heart of this suite is probably the biggest single reason for its success.