Aram Khachaturian ranks just behind Shostakovich and Prokofieff in the pantheon of 20th- century Russian music. Khachaturian's music, though, is far more "ethnic" than the music of the other two. His music never left the region of what was then the southern parts of the U.S.S.R.
His Symphony 2 is perhaps darker--in both mood and orchestral color--than his other symphonies; but then it was written in 1943 in the midst of World War II and Stalin's ongoing purges of the Soviet bureaucracy. However, works such as Gayneh almost guaranteed that Khachaturian would stay out of jail. -- Paul Cook