For my previous specifics about this Classic Records series, see my first review Here.
The patriotic folk ballet Gayne comes from the composer most associated with Armenian music over any other. Although Khachaturian used elements from the folk music of his people, he dressed them in very modern harmonies, giving them a 20th-century life that resulted in immediate popularity. For example, take the opening one of these 11 tracks which conductor Fistoulari picked out of the two concert suites the composer had created from his complete ballet score. It’s the classical hit The Sabre Dance. Fistoulari was born in Kiev, conducted Russian operas in Paris with Chaliapin, and later was conductor of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.
The rest of the movements are: Lyrical Duet, Dance of the Rose Maidens, Gopak, Lullaby, Lezghinka, Russian Dance, Gayne’s Adagio, Dance of the Young Kurds, Dance of the Old Man, Fire. The Adagio may be remembered from Kubrick’s effective use of it on the soundtrack of 2001: A Space Odyssey. All the pieces are aglow with orchestral color and vitality, making perfect audio demos. As with the others already reviewed, I found the provided CD just about identical to the now-out-of-print l995 Everest CD reissue, and the addition of the center channel on both the Dolby 3-channel and the DVD-Audio 3-channel of the separate DVD to greatly enhance the realism and impact of the music. I find a similarity in enhancement going from 2-channel to recorded-for-3-channel to that of going from an LP mastered from analog tape to a direct disc recorded at the same time.
– John Sunier