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Khachaturian, Sibelius: Violin Concertos ~ Khachatryan

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Performer: Sergey Khachatryan
  • Orchestra: Sinfonia Varsovia
  • Conductor: Emmanuel Krivine
  • Composer: Aram Khachaturian, Jean Sibelius
  • Audio CD (March 16, 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naive
  • ASIN: B0000CNTJH
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #281,137 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 5, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I had the pleasure of hearing the American recital début of violinist Sergey Khachatryan a year or so ago. I was extremely impressed by his playing - not only his virtuosity and élan but the remarkable maturity for someone so young; he was born in 1985. I've been on the lookout for any recordings he might make. This disc containing both the Sibelius and Khachaturian concerti lives up to my expectations. Indeed, I would put his Sibelius performance up against any I've ever heard. I can't pretend to have heard all the extant recordings of the Sibelius but I am familiar with those of Leonid Kavakos (in both versions - with the original finale as well as the one Sibelius replaced it with), Mutter, Mullova, Perlman, and of the irreplaceable Oistrakh. The best performance I ever heard live was an incandescent one by Pinchas Zukerman. Khachatryan may be over the top at times in this piece, especially in the finale, but the concerto can benefit from this kind of all-out approach. The Sinfonia Varsovia, which I take to have a rather smallish string section, has a lean sound that actually benefits the piece. Conductor Emmanuel Krivine occasionally lets the music almost bog down in the second movement and I truly believe he is led away from that by the relaxed but always forward-moving playing of his soloist, young Mr Khachatryan. The sound of the orchestra at the beginning of that second movement is ravishing and it is matched by the stunning sotto voce entrance of the soloist.
The Khachaturian benefits from a red-blooded performance; this is not subtle music. The orchestra's lean profile could have benefitted from a fuller string sound, but it's not a big matter.
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It would be interesting to try a minor experiment with this record. Play some extract from it - almost any part would do - to some experienced musicians and ask them simply to picture the soloist. If the image of a small and slightly-built teenager comes to anyone's mind I shall be very surprised indeed. In his contribution to the liner note Sergey Khachatryan notes that his next project is to be Shostakovich. It was in Shostakovich that I heard him two weeks ago with the BBC Philharmonic, and mightily impressed I was. What Khachatryan's playing has is quality - quality in the tone, quality in the phrasing, quality in the rhythm, and I need hardly say total and perfect quality in the intonation.

This record was made in July 2003. It was time to get a cd version of the Sibelius anyhow to supplement my LP account of the first recording of the work, done in 1935 but sounding surprisingly well still, by Heifetz and Beecham, and this particular soloist struck me as a good bet. So it has turned out. For me, the Sibelius concerto sometimes works and sometimes not. In his thoughtful book on the composer Robert Layton hints that its style is not completely consistent, and I have heard many performances that leave me feeling the same way. From the symphonies it would be hard to imagine Sibelius as a concerto writer, not a difficulty one would experience in listening to Mozart Beethoven or Brahms as symphonists. Nothing in the finales of the Sibelius symphonies is remotely suggestive of concerto style for one thing.
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The violin exposes a soloist's inner life as no other instrument does except the human voice, and the young Armenian Sergey Khachatryan's inner life seems rich with elegaic moods and rhapsodic flights of fancy. Like the first two reviewers here, I heard him play in cocnert and was bowled over. Khachatryan has a wonderful singing style and deep, mellow tone. His approach to both these works is an unusual combination of quiet intensity and unself-conscious technical command (showmanship being reined in for the sake of poetry. It's a tribute to Khachatryan's charisma that he can hold your attention completely in quiet reverie that touches on stasis.

Kirvine and his unknown (to me) Vercovia orchestra do very well as accompanists -- the Sibelius concerto in particular feels newly minted, with Kirvine sensitively following his soloist's inward approach. The sonics from Naive are fine -- the violin tone hasn't the least shrillness about it. As for the interpretations, as I've indicated, Khachatryan avoids flashiness, and in so doing he elevates the semi-junky Khachaturian concerto to a height of musicality I've never heard before. The Sibelius performance is the most polished and inward that I've ever come across.

Out of his young generation (Han, Gringolds, the somewhat older Daniel Hope, and Julia Fischer) Khachatryan may be the one who turns out to be the next Menuhin. Highly recommended.
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Format: Audio CD
Though all the usual attributes of a Rosand performance are present --- technique, temperament, and tone --- I can't say these recordings rank in the top third of his many recorded performances. Rosand has been consistently let down by his orchestral partners. The Sibelius, in particular, lacks heft here. The bristling utterances that should reinforce the violin's dramatic statements do not excite; I felt an overall lack of involvement from the orchestra. The Sibelius is rife with passionate themes, and when a first-class string section such as the Philadelphia carries them, you feel it in the gut. If Dylana Jensen could get Ormandy (what a partner!) as a virtual unknown, then where does that leave Mr. Rosand? It's sad.
At this stage in his career, Rosand cannot quite generate the whirlwind of sound that placed him in the forefront of his generation, so it is all the more important that he have a strong ally. The Khachaturian comes through much better; the Malaysian group has the necessary mechanical precision to bring it off and the recording is generous with the color.
In summary, the Sibelius is worth it only if you want to hear Rosand's ideas on the solo part.
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