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A few bars of the concerto's finale, as bracing as they are poignant, make a convincing case for Tovey's 'sanity of art' and nonsense of Soviet official policy, no less blinkered than most governments' excursions into artistic matters [listen -- track 3, 7:02-8:11]. If the Ukraine Orchestra under Theodore Kuchar stirs itself to the occasional tantrum, Armenian history and politics provide reason enough; but the accompaniment to Mihaela Martin's silvery tone and wonderfully deft negotiation of all technical pitfalls is above praise.

Three concertos of Khachaturian's mid-career were complemented with three Concert-Rhapsodies from the 1960s, when Stalin was safely in his grave beneath the walls of the Kremlin. Khachaturian could now devise his own forms and dare a 'formalism' that risked less hot water than before. If the music has an added asperity, Soviet experience was a hard teacher [listen -- track 4, 22:07-23:22].

Copyright © 24 March 2004 Robert Anderson, London UK


Khachaturian Violin Concerto

8.555919 DDD Stereo NEW RELEASE 62'22" 2003 Naxos Rights International Ltd

Mihaela Martin, violin; National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine; Theodore Kuchar, conductor

Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978): Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (1940); Concerto-Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra (1961)


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