Skip to content

Khachaturian Conducts Khachaturian, Vol. 2

January 22, 2013


In classical music, conductors often go against the original intentions of composers. For example, the way Beethoven and Mozart are played today is most likely a start contrast to how they were performed during the lifetimes of those composers. Unfortunately, when Beethoven and Mozart lived, there was no way to record the concerts that they conducted. Thus, listeners are blessed when a composer records his work, for his intentions are preserved forever. On this recording, Khachaturian Conducts Khachaturian, Vol. 2, the Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian conducts two of his own works, the Piano Concerto in D Flat Major and the Violin Concerto in D minor. Ultimately, the fact that the recording is authentic outweighs the few mishaps on the disk, making for a unique listening experience.

The first piece is the Piano Concerto, recorded live in 1977 in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory with the USSR State Symphony Orchestra and Nikolay Petrov. Due to the fact that the recording has not been edited, minor errors in the piano playing and sections where the orchestra does not enter completely together can be heard. In the first movement, the hacking cough of an audience member even rises above the soloist! Despite these faults, Khachaturian’s version of his own piece is a fabulous one. The pianist and players in the orchestra all attack their instruments with necessary vigor during the rustic sections of the work, yet also are able to play with marvelous phrasing during the sweet and tender parts of the concerto. The second movement is particularly noteworthy for the tender bass clarinet solos and shimmering violin lines. The third movement of the concerto is explosive, with folk dance rhythms and a lengthy piano cadenza, building to a final chorale in unison. After the final cymbal crash, the audience gives the musicians the rousing applause they deserve.

The second work on the the recording, the Violin Concerto in D minor was recorded in 1965 with the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra and David Oistrakh. Though not recorded live like the Piano Concerto, the performance still contains some mistakes. Oistrakh is often out of tune, and the orchestra is not perfectly aligned at times. However, the rest of the recording is fantastic enough for this critic to disregard the blips. The Violin Concerto is perhaps Khachaturian’s most famous work aside from Sabre Dance, and for good reason. The orchestra handles the changes in meter and tempo with ease, turning the entire work into an enjoyable dance. Perhaps the best playing can be found in the first and third movements; it seems that Oistrakh plays much better at a fast tempo. In the third movement, Khachaturian proves himself to be a skilled conductor, as all of the off-beats in the bass voices are perfectly together.

Despite its mistakes, this recording is well done.  Both concertos feature adept soloists performing with good quality orchestras. In the end, the both pieces shine with old-world Eastern European charm. This is a recording worth listening to.


It can be found on these sites:



From → CD Reviews

One Comment
  1. SHNOOGLEY permalink


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: