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Violin Concerto -
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'... above praise.'

Khachaturian Violin Concertos. Mihaela Martin, National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine / Theodore Kuchar. © 2003 Naxos Rights International Ltd

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 musical heritage.

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.

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Copyright © 24 March 2004 Robert Anderson, London UK


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