Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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AVET TERTERYAN (1929-1994) Symphony No. 3 (1975) * Symphony No. 6 (1983) **   * Armenian SSR State SO/David Khandjan (Duduk: Djanibek Gasparyan; Zurna: Gegam Grigoryan) ** Bolshoi Theatre Orch Soloists Ensemble/Alexander Lazarev BMG MELODIYA 74321 56265 2 [68.05]



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.


Rob Barnett


Rob Barnett

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