Khachaturian: Symphony No. 1; Violin Concerto; Concert Rhapsodies for Piano and for Cello; Gayaneh (excerpts)

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COMPOSERS: Khachaturian
LABELS: BMG Melodiya
WORKS: Symphony No. 1; Violin Concerto; Concert Rhapsodies for Piano and for Cello; Gayaneh (excerpts)
PERFORMER: David Oistrakh (violin), Nicolai Petrov (piano), Karine Georgian (cello); USSR SO, USSR RTV Large SO/Aram Khachaturian
CATALOGUE NO: 74321 59056 2 ADD Reissue (1965-79)
These archive recordings from 1965 and 1975 are intended to show Khachaturian as a conductor of his own orchestral music. His approach is direct and energetic. In the famous Onedin Line adagio from Spartacus, for instance, he gives prominence to braying brass and secondary melodies while letting the big tune fend for itself. The even more famous ‘Sabre Dance’ from Gayaneh teeters on the edge of percussive anarchy. The First Symphony is a fine piece, amply deserving Shostakovich’s praise at the first performance in 1935, but the biggest treat on these two discs is undoubtedly David Oistrakh’s ebullient performance of the Violin Concerto, a virtuoso caper through the restless rhythms of Armenian folk music that seems as effortless as it is dazzling. Christopher Lambton

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