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.
Although he was indicted (along with Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and a number of other prominent Soviet musicians) for "formalism," in the infamous Zhdanov decree of 1948, Aram Khachaturian was, for most of his long career, one of the Soviet musical establishment's most prized representatives. Born into an Armenian family, in Tbilisi, in 1903, Khachaturian's musical identity formed slowly, and, although a tuba player in his school band and a self-taught pianist, he wanted to be a biologist, and did not study music formally until entering Moscow's Gnesin Music Academy (as a cellist) in 1922. His considerable musical talents …..
Although he was indicted (along with Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and a number of other prominent Soviet musicians) for "formalism," in the infamous Zhdanov decree of 1948, Aram Khachaturian was, for most of his long career, one of the Soviet musical establishment's most prized representatives. Born into an Armenian family, in Tbilisi, in 1903, Khachaturian's musical identity formed slowly, and, although ….
The contemporary Armenian symphonic music is almost entirely monopolized by Aram Khachaturian. This CD brings forward a number of hitherto unknown composers. I was particularly delighted to see among them Gregory Yeghiazarian, an exceptionally talented composer and a brilliant orchestrator. My only regret is that the CD does contain any pieces by Avet Terterian, probably the only contemporary Armenian composer who does not belong to Khachaturian's 'school'. By Arman Akopian
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
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.
When the majority of flute concertos are lightweight, it is not surprising that leading flautists are keen to expand the repertory, adapting more ambitious works. That is how, on the suggestion of the composer himself, Jean-Pierre Rampal in 1968 came to prepare a brilliant transcription of Khachaturian’s Violin Concerto recorded here by Emmanuel Pahud. A soft-grained flute could hardly cut through orchestral textures in the concert-hall in the way a violin can, but on disc careful balancing without focusing on the solo instrument too aggressively has produced a successful result.
Spartacus has all the color and brash, brazen energy of Gayaneh, and is molded in the same, folk-like, flowing idiom but doesn't always steer clear of banality. Still there are lots of memorably ideas and exciting twists and turns, culminating, perhaps, in the famous Adagio with its poignant tune. Yet the ballet - at least the three suites here (I haven't honestly heard more) - is inventive enough and sufficiently imaginatively scored to keep one's attention throughout.
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.