Khachaturian: Violin Concerto; Concerto-Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra

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COMPOSERS: Khachaturian
LABELS: Telstar Revelation
WORKS: Violin Concerto; Concerto-Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra
PERFORMER: Leonid Kogan (violin); Grand SO/Aram Khachaturian, Moscow State Philharmonic SO/Kyrill Kondrashin
CATALOGUE NO: RV 10065 AAD mono/stereo
Whatever your opinion of Khachaturian’s wartime Violin Concerto, there’s no denying its brash tunefulness and popular optimism, nor its undoubted effectiveness as a showcase for virtuoso fiddlers. Here we have an archive recording from June 1951, with the composer conducting. Once you get used to the forward violin sound and occasionally scrappy orchestral ensemble, it’s most persuasive. Kogan scores particularly in the orientally seductive slow movement and the finale is scintillating. (It is interesting to reflect that at the politically sensitive time of this performance, Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto had still to be kept under wraps for fear of reprisal.) ‘A concerto,’ Khachaturian maintained, was ‘music with chandeliers burning bright; a rhapsody is music with chandeliers dimmed.’ The B flat minor Concerto-Rhapsody is less memorable than the one for piano, but Kogan (in this recording of the premiere on 3 November 1962) clearly enjoyed it. Ates Orga