Some Theoretical Problems in the Opera “The Earthquake” by Avet Terteryan

Gohar Shagoyan
Some Theoretical Problems in the Opera "The Earthquake" by Avet Terteryan

The opera "Das Beben" (1984) by Avet Terteryan is based on the principle of recitation, peculiar to the psalm genre. Two main principles: recitative singing (one syllable per one note) and uniform rhythmical organization of the intonations of simple sharakans are used in the opera. The spiritual and the primordial are the main bases of Terteryan’s compositions. The opera contains tragedy, which is treated by the composer a triumph of the eternal pure love. The latter is embodied with the same lucid tone – "re" (Des or D) in the beginning and in the end of the opera. The opera has two main heroes: a loving couple. These images personify the spiritual origin. The slanderers, instigators, judges and wandering musicians represent the different social strata, and the musical language of the opera changes respectively.

The composer brightly expresses the sensation of the reality and time in the musical spatiality. The C Major triad, being the lucid symbol of Terteryan’s aesthetics, symbolizes the Christianity, bearing simultaneously the role of the opera’s dramatic peak in the love duet (act II, scene 4). The intervals of second, appearing between the tones of the Armenian monody diatonic scale, have been used by Armenian composers as harmonic intervals and chord superposition, while as in Terteryan’s music, these are "petrified" seconds arisen from one sustained sound. Avet Terteryan, being a composer who brilliantly possessed the whole range of modern musical means, has created his own musical language, entirely based on the conformity to the national music principles, particularly to the chain tetrachord scale of the Armenian monody.