Trio for Clarinet or Viola, Violin and Piano
Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978) was born in the Georgian city of Tiflis now Tiblisi. He did not begin to study music as a child but at 19 took up the cello. His talent was so great that he was admitted the Gneissin Institute, Moscow's second most prestigious music school. Later he transferred to the Moscow Conservatory where he studied composition with Nikolai Myaskovsky. Eventually, he served as a professor at both music schools. Most of his works were for orchestra or large ensembles, although he did write a string quartet and this trio.
The Trio dates from 1932 while Khachaturian was still studying with Myaskovsky, who was so impressed with the work that he arranged for it to be premiered in Paris. The work is in three movements. The opening movement, Andante con dolore, is essentially a lyrical improvisation based on a slow, mournful melody derived from an Armenian folk song, and decorated with arabesque embellishments. In the second movement, Allegro, stormy episodes alternate with tender-dance like interludes. The finale, Moderato, is a set of nine variations based on an Uzbek folk melody, featuring several exotic intervals.