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Alexander Arutiunian: Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra
Alexander Arutiunian was born in Yerevan, Armenia on September 23, 1920 and died there on March 28, 2012. He composed his Trumpet Concert in 1950. It runs approximately 17 minutes in performance and is scored for solo trumpet, piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, harp, and orchestral strings.
Alexander Arutiunian is ranked among the most important Armenian composers in the generation after Aram Khachaturian. At the Komitas Conservatory in Yerevan he studied composition and the piano, graduating in 1941, and continued his studies at the Moscow Conservatory from 1946–8. He was Artistic Director of the Armenian Philharmonic Society between 1954 and 1990. He began to teach composition at the Yerevan Conservatory in 1965, and was appointed to a professorship in 1977. He joined the Union of Composers in 1939 and the Union of Cinematographers of Armenia in 1975. He was awarded the State Prize of the USSR in 1949 for his graduation work Kautat hayreinki masin (Cantata on the Homeland), and was made a People’s Artist of Armenia in 1960. Since then he has received numerous awards in Armenia, the USA, and elsewhere.
His style is quite approachable, and like Khachaturian's, often exotically colorful, exhibiting folk-like Armenian traits, and catchy melodies. He has created a variety of works for orchestra, chamber music, and an opera, but his most popular piece is his brilliant Trumpet Concerto. Its inspiration was Armenian trumpeter Zolak Vartasarian, who unfortunately died in military action in 1943 before Arutunian had completed the piece. Timofei Dokschitzer gave the première instead, in 1950. The concerto consists of a single movement. After a brief introduction, it gets under way with a section that alternates a dancing, show-off spirit with lyricism. A reflective central interlude follows, during which the soloist uses a mute. The return of the festive opening theme sets up a dazzling solo cadenza and the resounding conclusion.
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