Symphony No. 2 "The Bell" is a 1993 ASV recording starring the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Loris Tjeknavorian. Robert Mathew-Walker has written the music notes. One can definitely hear the influences from Stravinsky. The pace is right on the mark and one feels that Tjeknavorian understands Khachaturian's music. A very recording indeed.
Aram Khachaturian ranks just behind Shostakovich and Prokofieff in the pantheon of 20th- century Russian music. Khachaturian's music, though, is far more "ethnic" than the music of the other two. His music never left the region of what was then the southern parts of the U.S.S.R. His Symphony 2 is perhaps darker–in both mood and orchestral color–than his other symphonies; but then it was written in 1943 in the midst of World War II and Stalin's ongoing purges of the Soviet bureaucracy. However, works such as Gayneh almost guaranteed that Khachaturian would stay out of jail.
The St Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1967 by Nikolai Rabinovich, Karl Eliasberg and Edward Grikurov and until 1985 was known as the Orchestra of Ancient and Modern Music. Renowned soloists and conductors, including Yuri Temirkanov, Mariss Jansons, Svyatoslav Richter, and many others, have performed with the orchestra. In 1985 the orchestra was enlarged, developing as the Leningrad State Orchestra under Ravil Martynov and undertaking concert tours of China, Japan, Germany, Austria, Mexico, Spain, Finland, Norway, Sweden, France and Belgium. From 2004 until 2007 the orchestra was headed by Martynov’s pupil Vasily Petrenko. The orchestra’s artistic director and chief conductor from 2007 to 2013 was Alexander Titov, who has recorded significant Russian compositions from the period of the Second World War.
Despite no doubt dedicated performances, this recording of Khachaturian's Piano Concerto, Sonatina, and Toccata are distinctly disappointing. Part of the responsibility for this is pianist Alberto Portugheis, who plays with plenty of panache but not enough power and nowhere near enough precision. Part of the responsibility is conductor Loris Tjeknavorian, who leads the London Symphony Orchestra in a tepid accompaniment to the Piano Concerto with especially grave ensemble and intonation problems in the slow movement. Part of the responsibility is AVS, which gives Portugheis, Tjeknavorian, and the LSO distant and dismal recorded sound. But most of the responsibility is the incontrovertible fact that William Kapell recorded the Khachaturian Piano Concerto at the height of his powers and, after that awesome achievement, any merely dedicated performance cannot help but sound distinctly disappointing.
Sometimes there is a perfect match between repertoire, conductor, and orchestra: this album is one such example. Featuring the music from two ballets by Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian, it is very accessible to those who claim they do not like classical music, as its 20th century tonalities and film score-like qualities completely draw the listener in. The first track is dramatic and grand, worthy of a gladiator like Spartacus, and it leads into an adagio that is ethereal with cellos and harps.
This 6CD set contains 100 tracks from the catalogues of EMI Records, EMI Classics and Virgin Classics of recordings by the London Symphony Orchestra under some of the world’s greatest conductors and with a number of famous soloists.
A luxurious and authoritative 64CD orchestral and concerto set, celebrating one of the world’s great orchestras and their 64-year relationship with Decca Classics.
Few labels can claim to be so associated with a city as inextricably as Decca is with Vienna. No history of classical recordings would be complete without a chapter documenting how both Decca and the WP worked to perfect the art of recording in the city’s great concert halls, most notably in the famous Sofiensaal.
This really could have been a collectors item! Music from the Caucasus, performed by an Armenian Orchestra, led by a renowned ethnic-Armenian conductor from Iran. Who better to present these folk-inspired works from this ancient crossroads? Loris Tjeknavorian may not be a household name, but he has built a very successful worldwide career over several decades in both the USSR/Russia and the West…. ByMatteoD