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A Degree of Truth

A spring remembrance concert for
the Armenian victims of 1915,
reviewed by BILL NEWMAN


Most often it is agreed that fine music possesses the deepest concentrative powers. The solace and persuasion it brings mankind is dependant largely on the expertise and conviction of performers used to express the inner depths of their instruments -- whether a violin, piano or human voice -- to bring forth a degree of truth in their interpretations that matches the creator's original conception.

The theme, or more correctly the tribute surrounding this particular concert [12 April 2007, Wigmore Hall, London UK] concerns the callous victimisation, then abduction and deportation followed by torture, starvation and eventual massacre of an Armenian population of some half a million living in the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923. As late as 2005 there are still families striving for recognition of the sufferings inflicted, although most of the survivors have passed on.

Regina Parkev, on behalf of RP Musical Managment, has talked with me about the choice of artists. In the past, I knew very well Armenian Marat Bisangaliev, an Oistrakh pupil, but today the young generation player Sergei Khachatryan has commanded the violin scene. He is one of several Yerevan born headliners, in his case first winner of the Sibelius and Queen Elizabeth Competitions. Concertos by Sibelius and Khachaturian are two CD favorites on the Naive label and I am hoping to review the two Shostakovich concerti shortly. A long time back I sat through performances of the famous J S Bach Chaconne from the Partita in B minor at Carl Flesch Competitions and talked often with my dear friend and colleague Joseph Szigeti, the Bach specialist, performer, lecturer and adjudicator. Joska would have loved Khachatryan's trancendental reading with its purity of tone reaching continually upward into the highest echelons. The poetic pauses and the meanings contained therein are typical only of the best.

Khachatryan's sister Lusine has already made her mark at the Edinburgh Festival and others in Europe. Their parents are also concert pianists. At twelve she made her Wiesbaden début performing Mozart's Concerto K595 and is just as adept in chamber music. In Cesar Franck's Sonata she matched Sergey's sudden bursts of acceleration with marvellously controlled clarity and musicianship.

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Copyright © 21 June 2007 Bill Newman, London UK


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