Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Rostom Alajian - Unquenchable Flame Of Remembrance



Years ago my university studies and an international university exchange program took me down to Thessaloniki, Greece's second biggest city, where the food is ample and the girls are pretty. Apart from the picturesque seafront, the amazing food and the vibrant political movement, which included a lot of demonstrations, strikes, occupations and clashes with the police, as well as an active hardcore punk/noise scene (which will be covered soon), I also discovered a few music gems. One of them is this cd featuring orchestral music composed by Soviet-Armenian-Greek composer Rostom Alajian. Apart from being a veteran of the antifascist war against the Nazis, Alajian was also the director of orchestras in Armenia, Georgia and Vladikavkaz. This cd includes two symphonic pieces with choirs dedicated to the Soviet Great Patriotic War and the battles in Crimea, Stalingrad and Pribaltika, with narrations in Russian, with that unrivaled emotional manner than only Russians can deliver. The music contains influences of Shostakovich, particularly the Leningrad symphony and his film music (King Lear/ Hamlet), albeit intertwined with military music and socialist realist overtones and elements of Central Asian/Oriental music. On top of that the choirs are as awesome as Russian military choirs can be, making you wanting to slap Nazi skinhead fucks. I discovered this cd in an immensely dusty second-hand bookshop run by a strange man who was the husband of the composer's daughter, the latter of whom self-released this cd in 2004.

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