Violin Concerto -
'... above praise.'
It is some years since I heard this concerto. It remains as enchanting
as ever, abounding in vitality and tenderness, whereas Armenian history hardly
bears thinking of. A glance at a map and its neighbours shows why it
has often been a witches' cauldron with Macbethian ingredients. Its
church has been tangential to mainstream Orthodoxy, and its language was
written down only in the fifth century, when a resourceful monk devised
the all but forty letters needed. The more it has been at the mercy of
marauding powers, the more has Armenia guarded its vibrant artistic and
Khachaturian (1903-78) was born in Tbilisi and, like so many composers
destined for ultimate fame in Russia, entered Moscow university with music
as a sideline. Biology was his main subject, but musical compositions
poured from him and a First Symphony became his graduation piece in 1934.
Copyright © 24 March 2004
Robert Anderson, London UK