Terteryan has not received a great deal of attention which, given his startlingly
exotic musical imagination, is surprising. More recently a number of his
works have been recorded by ASV.
His Third Symphony was recorded in Yerevan in 1973. The sounds Terteryan
conjures up are brazenly colourful. Barbaric percussion hammer away. Gaudy
colours light up the horizon. The xylophone rattles. Wood blocks clatter.
There are sour mutterings from the brass. The strings slip and slide in the
primeval mud. Weird instruments (duduk and zurna) make a thoroughly hair-raising
appearance sounding like bagpipes on cocaine or ancient horns sounded from
the peak of mount Ararat. The brass trumpet wildly in an apocalyptic clamour
noise. The mournful second movement places time in suspension. The third
movement returns to barbaric hues and drumkit energy. I can imagine Basil
Poledouris (composer of the masterly scores for the two Conan films) finding
inspiration in this music. The barbaric bagpipes return and a great surf
rushes through the texture with upward pealing brass and then a downward
roll. Great rushing violent waves plough across the scenery and proceedings
end exhaustingly with a final wild howl as of some mortally wounded allosaurus!
Although there is plenty of desperate colour the symphony seems rather static.
The Sixth Symphony is for chamber orchestra, chamber choir and nine phonograms!
The present recording was made in Moscow in 1986. The spectacular third symphony
runs only 24 minutes and is in three movements. The sixth is in a single
movement running almost three quarters of an hour. The impression is of a
great monolith of sounds and moods. At 10.20 a flute and clarinet engage
in dialogue likened to a soft oozing spell . There are plangent noises and
the dialogue is repeated. The chorus enter quietly after about 15 minutes.
The swishing of phonograms follows then a sound like a baccarat ball in a
roulette wheel or a metal nut on a corrugated roof. A bell stroke at 41.58
and a long held high note usher the symphony out.
The third symphony is easy to like and impresses through the adrenalin rush
of strange colours. The sixth is much tougher fare. On the evidence of the
third I would like to hear the rest of his symphonies. I recommend the disc
especially for the third symphony. Congratulations to BMG-Melodiya on their
enterprising choice of repertoire.