Khachaturyan’s Violin Concerto was Charlie Chaplin’s favorite – story behind famous Geneva meeting
YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 20, ARMENPRESS. As part of an ARMENPRESS Special presenting the most prominent and interesting stories from the life of legendary composer Aram Khachaturyan, this time we present the story behind the acclaimed composer’s meeting with English comedian Charlie Chaplin.
Khachaturyan met the English actor during a visit to Switzerland in 1965, when the Armenian composer was invited to be part of a jury for an international competition.
At that time Chaplin, 76, was living a somewhat isolated life in a villa outside Geneva and rarely had any guests. Khachaturyan himself had asked to meet the movie icon. Chaplin was pleased to host the Armenian composer, with his spouse and son, at his villa.
After a few hour long conversation, Chaplin invited Khachaturyan to his private room, where he opened a drawer revealing the record of the Armenian composer’s Violin Concerto. Chaplin said it is one of his favorites and he listens to it often when working. Chaplin often used music composed by himself in his movies. During the meeting with Khachaturyan, Chaplin tried to approach the piano to play a part of his compositions, but at the last moment he refrained, saying he is too anxious to play in the presence of the great maestro.
At the end of the tour, Khachaturyan’s health deteriorated which prompted hospitalization.
Upon hearing the news, Charlie Chaplin sent a note and roses to the composer, wishing him speedy recovery.
As a sign of respect, Khachaturyan took the flowers with him back to his Moscow home, and placed it on his grand piano. These dried out flowers remained on the same place until Khachaturyan’s final days. It is still kept by Khachaturyan’s son as a memory from the meeting.
Photos of the Khachaturyan-Chaplin meeting are kept in the Aram Khachaturyan House Museum.
By Anna Grigoryan
Khachaturyan with Sophia Loren and fim director G. Alexandrov, 1965, Moscow
Khachaturyan with Gina Lollobrigida , 1976, Moscow