Author Topic: Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)  (Read 27137 times)

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eyeresist

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Re: Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)
« Reply #40 on: July 01, 2012, 06:12:48 PM »
Some thoughts after listening to Khachaturian over the weekend:

I disparaged the ballets in another thread, which was rather a hangover from listening to highlights conducted by Simonov in rather glary sound. I listened to Spartacus suites 1-3 and modified my opinion. I think one's judgement is formed partly by what one expects from ballet music. I mean, ballet as an art-form is inherently ridiculous, for which the composer can compensate in two ways: 1) distract the audience with a series of blockbusting tunes (Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev) or (2) get the audience to buy into the logic of the stage by inducing a dream-like trance (Stravinsky, Bartok). If we take Khachaturian as using the second approach, the monotonous, driving aspect of the music makes much more sense. In fact, I would link this aspect of Spartacus with the 3rd symphony, whose overall effect I would describe as hallucinatory.

If we look for it, we can also see this aspect in the 2nd symphony - the obsessive repetitions of the 1st movement, which strongly anticipate Herrmann's Hitchcock film scores; and also the nightmarish travesty of the Dies Irae in the third movement (I find enjoyment of this movement greatly increased on repeated hearing, due to the sense of anticipation for the entrance of the hymn tune).
I've noticed, BTW, a rising chord sequence at the end of the symphony which seems to be a quote from the choral ending of Liszt's Dante symphony. If I am correct, Khachaturian was actually quite daring to suggest the notion of religious transcendance, given the atheistic strictures of the USSR.

So.... I want to give Spartacus another re-hearing, in a better recording than the old Naxos CD. This music really needs great playing and great sound (not too glary, not too reverberant), and a conductor willing and capable of strongly characterising the numbers as required. I will look at the recordings of Jurowski and Tjeknavorian, but am also anticipating Melodiya's rerelease of the complete score recording from the 70s.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2012, 11:51:02 PM by eyeresist »

eyeresist

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Re: Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)
« Reply #41 on: July 01, 2012, 09:08:36 PM »

Virtual Museum of Aram Khachaturian

Quote
After the war, Yerevan hospitals were full of casualties. Having come to Yerevan, Khachaturian wished to give a concert in one of the hospitals. The music was punctuated by his interesting stories of musicians’ life during the war years. Among Khachaturian’s recollections there was the following funny story. Once during the evacuation, at a railway station, Khachaturian, Oistrakh and Shostakovich were terribly hungry. To get out of the critical situation helped Oistrakh who jokingly suggested giving a performance right there. Nevertheless, Khachaturian and Shostakovich found the idea attractive and agreed with pleasure. As a reward for the improvised performance, the great musicians got a dinner.

The list of works seems extensive, but doesn't mention the "Sonata-monologue" for solo violin included on the disc of music recorded by Jelden (possibly it's transcribed from the solo sonata for cello?).

Obscure works of possible interest:

Film scores: Othello (1956), Saltanat (1955)
Theatre music: Macbeth (two versions? 1933, 1955), Devastated home (1935), Kremlin chimes (1942), Southern bale (1947), Tale about the truth (1947), Spring current (1953), Lermontov (1954), King Lear (1958)
Chamber music: String quartet (1931), Clarinet trio (1932), Violin sonata (1932), Cello sonata (solo) (1974)
Piano works: Seven recitatives and fugues (1928, 1966), Album for children (10 pieces) (1947), Sonatina (1959), Sonata (1961), Album for children 2 (1965)
Ballet: Happiness (1939)

I'm surprised he never wrote an opera.

eyeresist

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Re: Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)
« Reply #42 on: July 18, 2012, 08:10:44 PM »
Currently listening to the Vienna Philharmonic recording of the 2nd symphony.
Disappointingly, the sound breaks up badly several times. I expected better from Decca. Also, there are places where the musicians sound unfamiliar with the music, whereas the Russian performers are intense throughout. ATM I'd have to say Khachaturian's Soviet recording is the better one.
But I still have to hear Jarvi and Mangasarian.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 08:53:38 PM by eyeresist »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)
« Reply #43 on: July 19, 2012, 02:01:46 AM »
Currently listening to the Vienna Philharmonic recording of the 2nd symphony.
Disappointingly, the sound breaks up badly several times. I expected better from Decca. Also, there are places where the musicians sound unfamiliar with the music, whereas the Russian performers are intense throughout. ATM I'd have to say Khachaturian's Soviet recording is the better one.
But I still have to hear Jarvi and Mangasarian.

I think that the Jarvi is in a class of its own - from the wonderfully intimidating opening onwards.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

cilgwyn

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Re: Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)
« Reply #44 on: July 19, 2012, 02:22:29 AM »
I used to play his first symphony allot when I was a youngster...a long time ago! ;D The recording I had was an RCA Lp,with Armenian's,I think,dancing,or leaping about,on the front! I believe it was conducted by the man himself;but as far as I know it is currently unavailable on cd. The first doesn't get mentioned as often as the other two,but I seem to remember that,if you like the score,the RCA performance was a VERY exciting reading;infinitely better than the ASV,which got good reviews in Gramophone,I believe (as did Tjeknavorian's other,rather overrated,I think, ASV recordings! :o) I remember braining my poor parents with it ( the volume on,full throttle!! :o)

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)
« Reply #45 on: July 19, 2012, 03:02:17 AM »
I used to play his first symphony allot when I was a youngster...a long time ago! ;D The recording I had was an RCA Lp,with Armenian's,I think,dancing,or leaping about,on the front! I believe it was conducted by the man himself;but as far as I know it is currently unavailable on cd. The first doesn't get mentioned as often as the other two,but I seem to remember that,if you like the score,the RCA performance was a VERY exciting reading;infinitely better than the ASV,which got good reviews in Gramophone,I believe (as did Tjeknavorian's other,rather overrated,I think, ASV recordings! :o) I remember braining my poor parents with it ( the volume on,full throttle!! :o)

The RCA LP you refer to was also conducted by Tjeknavorian (with the LSO). As you rightly say it was far superior to the later ASV remake - in fact I think that it was the best ever recording of the work. Infuriatingly, like the RCA recordings of Bax's Third Symphony (Downes) and Miaskovsky's 21st Symphony (Morton Gould) it has never been released on CD - shame on RCA. I think that all three are the best recordings of the relevant works. Khachaturian's First Symphony is my favourite (although I like all three). All is not lost, however, as Melodiya have recently issued very good performances of the work (and Symphony No 2 on a separate CD) conducted by the composer with the USSR SSO.


« Last Edit: July 19, 2012, 03:08:29 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

cilgwyn

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Re: Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)
« Reply #46 on: July 19, 2012, 04:24:13 AM »
It's been along time since I was a teenager,Vandermolen! ;D Yes,it was Tjeknavorian,I believe. I can sort of see the name there,on the Lp,in my mind! It had a sweep,grandeur & fervour to it,which made it far more convincing,than than ASV. In fact it is quite an impressive symphony in that recording. All the more pity that it appears to be unavailable,although,maybe as a download? If more people could hear that performance,it would have a few more admirers. Hopefully,at some point it will be reissued. I remember waiting years for Rca to release Tjeknavorian's Gayane,though;which was also excitingly played;although,unfortunately,it was not actually complete & there were various issues,which I know have garnered some criticism on various forums. A pity,because there was some thrilling musicianship there & it certainly spent allot of time thundering out of my,incidentally,Van der Molen Record player loudspeakers! As a fellow Armenian,you would have thought Tjeknavorian would have taken more care over these issues. But then again,maybe he was under pressure from recording executives? I know conductors & performers can't always do things the way they want!
  The LSO of course is a proper orchestra & I seem to remember that the sound quality of the RCA Second was on the spectacular side;although,possibly a little reverberant,in the 'Chandos' sense of the term. I certainly had no problem with it;although I'm more critical now.
  Miaskovsky conducted by Gould sounds very intriguing. I have some of his Copland recordings & may put them on later. Gould also composed of course. I'm not a big admirer of his work. He often seems like Copland without the tunes;but I remember I had a Varese Sarabande Lp of him conducting his own music with the Lso;again in my teens/early 20's. It was one of those early digital Lps with those rather fun warnings about possible damage to speakers! It also had a very striking black sleeve with a yellow aztec design on the front. Gatefold in design,it certainly grabbed your eye. The first item on side 1 was Goulds Latin American Symphonette. Like the Khatchaturian RCA Second,it was one of those recordings that have some kind of special magic. Thrilling,exciting playing,and a truly spectacular recording that highlighted every detail of Goulds exotic instrumentation. To this day,I have NEVER heard a recording of a composition of Gould that sounded that convincing,or good. Again there was a sweep & fervour to it which seem to bring it all together. In his hands it sounded like a classic. Sadly,as far as I can make out,it has never been released on cd. Yet,Gould is a composer I usually class as intriguing,but ultimately disappointing! It's as if there's some big tune always waiting there in the wings,but it never shows up. Gould's No 1 failing,I think. Bernstein,Gershwin & Arnold could write great tunes,Gould couldn't! :( Having said that,his third symphony on the Albany label is not bad,at all,especially that jazz combo style riff. So maybe there is some good Gould out there,somewhere?
I have to admit,unlike yourself,Vandermolen. I'm not much of an expert on Miaskovsky,but I used to love the old Unicorn Kanchana recording,which I finally procured on cd. Alas,the cd had a fault & by the time I found out,it was too late to get a refund. Fortunately,it played on my pc & I now have a cdr inside the original cd jewel case,minus the 'Hamlet',which is interesting,I suppose,but I just wanted a cd of the original release (inc Kabalevsky 2).
  Going back to Khatchaturian (hurriedly),it's good to see that Melodiya are reissuing their Khatchaturian recordings. Hopefully,we'll get some of their more esoteric fare before long. I recently procured a s/h cd of Khrennikov's Piano Concerto's,which presumably originated from Melodiya? I'm ashamed to say that I absolutely love them. In fact,they were on repeat for a couple of days. The old villain was no mean pianist,I must say! :o ;D And to anyone who sees red ;D at the mention of Tikhon Khrennikov;I honestly wish I could hate his music,or regard it as utterly derivative & crap,but I can't lie to myself. I like it! :o :(

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)
« Reply #47 on: July 19, 2012, 12:08:35 PM »
It's been along time since I was a teenager,Vandermolen! ;D Yes,it was Tjeknavorian,I believe. I can sort of see the name there,on the Lp,in my mind! It had a sweep,grandeur & fervour to it,which made it far more convincing,than than ASV. In fact it is quite an impressive symphony in that recording. All the more pity that it appears to be unavailable,although,maybe as a download? If more people could hear that performance,it would have a few more admirers. Hopefully,at some point it will be reissued. I remember waiting years for Rca to release Tjeknavorian's Gayane,though;which was also excitingly played;although,unfortunately,it was not actually complete & there were various issues,which I know have garnered some criticism on various forums. A pity,because there was some thrilling musicianship there & it certainly spent allot of time thundering out of my,incidentally,Van der Molen Record player loudspeakers! As a fellow Armenian,you would have thought Tjeknavorian would have taken more care over these issues. But then again,maybe he was under pressure from recording executives? I know conductors & performers can't always do things the way they want!
  The LSO of course is a proper orchestra & I seem to remember that the sound quality of the RCA Second was on the spectacular side;although,possibly a little reverberant,in the 'Chandos' sense of the term. I certainly had no problem with it;although I'm more critical now.
  Miaskovsky conducted by Gould sounds very intriguing. I have some of his Copland recordings & may put them on later. Gould also composed of course. I'm not a big admirer of his work. He often seems like Copland without the tunes;but I remember I had a Varese Sarabande Lp of him conducting his own music with the Lso;again in my teens/early 20's. It was one of those early digital Lps with those rather fun warnings about possible damage to speakers! It also had a very striking black sleeve with a yellow aztec design on the front. Gatefold in design,it certainly grabbed your eye. The first item on side 1 was Goulds Latin American Symphonette. Like the Khatchaturian RCA Second,it was one of those recordings that have some kind of special magic. Thrilling,exciting playing,and a truly spectacular recording that highlighted every detail of Goulds exotic instrumentation. To this day,I have NEVER heard a recording of a composition of Gould that sounded that convincing,or good. Again there was a sweep & fervour to it which seem to bring it all together. In his hands it sounded like a classic. Sadly,as far as I can make out,it has never been released on cd. Yet,Gould is a composer I usually class as intriguing,but ultimately disappointing! It's as if there's some big tune always waiting there in the wings,but it never shows up. Gould's No 1 failing,I think. Bernstein,Gershwin & Arnold could write great tunes,Gould couldn't! :( Having said that,his third symphony on the Albany label is not bad,at all,especially that jazz combo style riff. So maybe there is some good Gould out there,somewhere?
I have to admit,unlike yourself,Vandermolen. I'm not much of an expert on Miaskovsky,but I used to love the old Unicorn Kanchana recording,which I finally procured on cd. Alas,the cd had a fault & by the time I found out,it was too late to get a refund. Fortunately,it played on my pc & I now have a cdr inside the original cd jewel case,minus the 'Hamlet',which is interesting,I suppose,but I just wanted a cd of the original release (inc Kabalevsky 2).
  Going back to Khatchaturian (hurriedly),it's good to see that Melodiya are reissuing their Khatchaturian recordings. Hopefully,we'll get some of their more esoteric fare before long. I recently procured a s/h cd of Khrennikov's Piano Concerto's,which presumably originated from Melodiya? I'm ashamed to say that I absolutely love them. In fact,they were on repeat for a couple of days. The old villain was no mean pianist,I must say! :o ;D And to anyone who sees red ;D at the mention of Tikhon Khrennikov;I honestly wish I could hate his music,or regard it as utterly derivative & crap,but I can't lie to myself. I like it! :o :(

Very interesting post Cilgwyn,

I think that the link below should take you to an image of that famous old RCA LP:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/RL-25203-TJEKNAVORIAN-KHACHATURIAN-SYMPHONY-1-/230815897886

You are quite right about the epic sweep of that performance (unlike any other).  The 'Third Ear Classical Music Guide' takes the same view. I discovered the LP at a music library in Harrow, Noth London when I was teaching there (not at Harrow School I point out) in my 20s.

As for Miaskovsky I think that Measham's performance is as good as any - also my introduction to the work on LP (I am playing it now - but sadly not through 'Van der Molen' speakers   ;D) As for Morton Gould I also agree with you and even his 'Jekyll and Hyde Variations' were a bit of a let down.  However, there is one work by Morton Gould which I love and this is the 'West Point' Symphony for band. There is a point in it where the orchestra have to 'march' along with the music, which is great fun, highly memorable and an absolute hoot - although I'm not sure if this was Morton Gould's intention! The version to have is on Mercury if you can find it - a wonderful old CD coupled with music by Alan Hovhannes.
I think that I'm more of an obsessive Miaskovsky CD nutter rather than an 'expert' but I'm flattered that you think so (although along with two Dutchmen and a Scotsman I am definitely a 'Braga Santos expert'  8)

As for Khrennikov I really like the Symphony No 2, which is memorable, catchy and genuinely moving at the end of the slow movement.  I actually saw him in the flesh when I attended a concert in Moscow on New Year's Day 1986 (a very tepid ballet by him was being staged).
« Last Edit: July 19, 2012, 12:11:26 PM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

eyeresist

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Re: Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)
« Reply #48 on: July 19, 2012, 04:44:42 PM »
The RCA LP you refer to was also conducted by Tjeknavorian (with the LSO). As you rightly say it was far superior to the later ASV remake - in fact I think that it was the best ever recording of the work. Infuriatingly, like the RCA recordings of Bax's Third Symphony (Downes) and Miaskovsky's 21st Symphony (Morton Gould) it has never been released on CD - shame on RCA. I think that all three are the best recordings of the relevant works. Khachaturian's First Symphony is my favourite (although I like all three). All is not lost, however, as Melodiya have recently issued very good performances of the work (and Symphony No 2 on a separate CD) conducted by the composer with the USSR SSO.

Everyone raves about the Tjek RCA recording - I can't help thinking I might eventually be terribly let down  ;)

I recently took delivery of the Melodiya reissue of the composer conducting the 1st. It has not sold me on the work (though I think there is definitely a 'there' there). I'll give it a few more listens, though.  It seems Melodiya has been reinvigorated in the last year or so - they should do a poll to see what we actually want them to release! I definitely recommend Khach's Soviet recording of the 2nd, and Kondrashin's 3rd.

I also picked up the Naxos disc of the cello concertos, and I think this will be the go-to disc for these works for some time to come. The sound is great and the performances very enthusiastic.  (Interesting that the cello is played by Yablonsky, who we know best as a conductor, while he is very ably conducted by Fedotov, better known as a violinist. Then there's the disc of Khach's piano concertos with Yablonsky conducting - the soloist is his mother! It's a family affair....)

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)
« Reply #49 on: July 19, 2012, 09:04:09 PM »
Everyone raves about the Tjek RCA recording - I can't help thinking I might eventually be terribly let down  ;)

I recently took delivery of the Melodiya reissue of the composer conducting the 1st. It has not sold me on the work (though I think there is definitely a 'there' there). I'll give it a few more listens, though.  It seems Melodiya has been reinvigorated in the last year or so - they should do a poll to see what we actually want them to release! I definitely recommend Khach's Soviet recording of the 2nd, and Kondrashin's 3rd.

I also picked up the Naxos disc of the cello concertos, and I think this will be the go-to disc for these works for some time to come. The sound is great and the performances very enthusiastic.  (Interesting that the cello is played by Yablonsky, who we know best as a conductor, while he is very ably conducted by Fedotov, better known as a violinist. Then there's the disc of Khach's piano concertos with Yablonsky conducting - the soloist is his mother! It's a family affair....)

I don't think that you'd be disappointed by the RCA recording. Cigwyn is right - it has an epic sweep unlike the others. I think that Melodiya have released the Khachaturian soviet recording of Symphony No 2 (see image in my posting above). I wish Melodiya would be a bit more adventurous now. I'd like to see their Miaskovsky recordings reissued for starters.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

eyeresist

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Re: Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)
« Reply #50 on: July 19, 2012, 11:29:38 PM »
I think that Melodiya have released the Khachaturian soviet recording of Symphony No 2 (see image in my posting above).

Yes, I have that issue of symphony 1. It's quite a nice package, although it's a digipak, which I don't care for. On the back is over-writing in gloss black on matt black, what I assume is "Khachaturian" in Armenian script. The disc itself is designed like an old LP label, with simulated black grooves - you can feel the texture!
Booklet notes in English and Russian. Remastering credited to M. Pilipov, but no date given. There might be more info in the fine print on the back, but I can't read Cyrillic.

eyeresist

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Re: Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)
« Reply #51 on: July 22, 2012, 06:04:58 PM »
Apart from those mentioned above, I believe there are two other recordings of Symphony No. 2:



Hidden away in Brilliant's Yuri Temirkanov Edition.



Recorded in Armenia in 2000 as part of Japan Music Week
National Philharmonic Orchestra of Armenia / Inoueki Nobuyoshi (Altus label)

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)
« Reply #52 on: July 23, 2012, 02:23:55 AM »
Apart from those mentioned above, I believe there are two other recordings of Symphony No. 2:



Hidden away in Brilliant's Yuri Temirkanov Edition.



Recorded in Armenia in 2000 as part of Japan Music Week
National Philharmonic Orchestra of Armenia / Inoueki Nobuyoshi (Altus label)

How interesting! Have you heard either? I recently bought a re-issue of the Stokowski version.

« Last Edit: July 23, 2012, 02:26:17 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

eyeresist

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Re: Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)
« Reply #53 on: July 23, 2012, 04:49:36 PM »
How interesting! Have you heard either? I recently bought a re-issue of the Stokowski version.

No, they both cost a bit more than I am prepared to spend at the moment. That Stokowski set is enticing, and is on my wishlist. I guess one advantage of Urania being a pirate label is they have access to the best restoration technology ;)
Have you listened to it? Any thoughts, Khach or Shosty?

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)
« Reply #54 on: July 24, 2012, 10:27:18 AM »
No, they both cost a bit more than I am prepared to spend at the moment. That Stokowski set is enticing, and is on my wishlist. I guess one advantage of Urania being a pirate label is they have access to the best restoration technology ;)
Have you listened to it? Any thoughts, Khach or Shosty?

Didn't realise that Urania was a pirate label - but makes sense in view of the flimsy presentation.  Will listen and report back.

The Temirkanov performance of Symphony 2 (Khachaturian) is well reviewed here:

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2008/june08/Temirkanov_8818.htm
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

eyeresist

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Re: Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)
« Reply #55 on: July 25, 2012, 04:32:12 PM »
Didn't realise that Urania was a pirate label - but makes sense in view of the flimsy presentation.

Wel, I noticed that they often sell old material which, by coincidence, used to be on M&A but is now out of print. Furtwangler's Bruckner, for instance. Those Urania transfers sounded suspiciously awesome ;)

Thanks for the link.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)
« Reply #56 on: August 01, 2012, 10:45:57 PM »
The Temirkanov performance of Symphony No 2 'The Bell' (Brilliant boxed set) is the best I know - not the best recorded (the sound is a little constricted) but undoubtedly the most intense performance, which had me on the edge of my seat (1970 live performance). Well worth looking out for.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

eyeresist

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Re: Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)
« Reply #57 on: August 02, 2012, 12:18:30 AM »
I've done a little online research on the Temirkanov - you forgot to mention it is in mono!

I've been listening to the Martin/Kuchar recording of the Violin Concerto and Concerto-Rhapsody. First class performances, and thankfully it was recorded in studio rather than the concert hall whose reverb sabotaged other recordings from this source. Looking at online reviews, a lot of people point out the performance of the concert-rhapsody as an exceptionally strong take on a weak work. (I think the weakness of the rhapsodies is at least in part due to lack of a clarifying structure.)
These works are certainly more engaging than the corresponding ones for cello. I feel the most concerto-ish parts are the weakest (all that empty note-spinning which seems to impress the critics), and the bits that sound like an exotic tone poem are the best (i.e. the bits that sound most like Khachaturian).

Transcription of the May-June 2004 ARG review:
Quote
This is one of the most satisfying recordings of the Khachaturian Violin Concerto that I have heard, and it may even be the best.

In March/April 2001 I praised Aaron Rosand's recording with Kees Bakels and the Malaysian Philharmonic. I was especially impressed with Bakels's commitment and imagination. But Rosand sounds anemic, and I suspect that is the fault of the recording engineer. Before that, my favorite recording had been David Oistrakh's with the composer conducting the USSR Radio Symphony from 1965. Khachaturian doesn't do quite as good a job teasing out interesting details in the score as Bakels does - or at least the recording engineers didn't pick them out - but Oistrakh is no second-string player, and his tone is full and present. This new release combines the virtues of the other two recordings - a very expressive soloist, a dynamic conductor, and clear full-bodied sound.

Mihaela Martin is a remarkably fine soloist - much better than Rosand and nearly the equal of Oistrakh - and her performance is full of nuance and tonal shadings. Theodore Kuchar keeps a firm grip on the proceedings, and the Ukraine orchestra is fine. The sound here is the best I've heard, and it doesn't favor the soloist over the orchestra, or vice versa like Rosand's recording, but places her squarely in the midst of the orchestra. And to think that you get all this at budget price!

The weak part of this release is the coupling, the Concerto-Rhapsody of 1961. The Violin Concerto was written 21 years earlier, and it would appear that Khachaturian's melodic gifts had diminished in the meantime. Pretty as it is, it has not one memorable tune, while the Violin Concerto has nothing but memorable tunes.

MAGIL

For some reason, the more recent Naxos recording conducted by Serebrier has gone largely unnoticed.

eyeresist

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Re: Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)
« Reply #58 on: August 22, 2012, 07:09:58 PM »
I took delivery of Chandos's "Introduction to Aram Khachaturian" CD (including the 3rd symphony) yesterday, and just wanted to mention a couple of things from the liner notes.

First, the generic introduction to the "Introduction to" series (written by Classic FM presenter John Brunning) is hilarious in this instance: "It will give you a good flavour of the composer's style, but you won't find any nasty surprises - all the music is instantly accessible and appealing." As much as I like the 3rd, I'm pretty sure most Classic FM listeners would describe it as a "nasty surprise".

Also, I was not previously aware that Khachaturian's 3rd received its Moscow premiere (on 25 December 1947) along with another debut - Prokofiev's 6th.


cilgwyn

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Re: Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)
« Reply #59 on: August 23, 2012, 02:51:01 AM »
I used to love Khatchaturian's music,as a youngster,but for some reason ::) his 3rd symphony never really appealed to me. For a master of slick tunes,the 3rds big 'tune' (if that's the right word for it) is suprisingly & perhaps disappointingly,for me,astringent! I was always relieved when it got to the wacky 'Dr Phibes at the organ' bit!
Incidentally,I had the Stokowski version on RCA Gold Seal,coupled with RK's Russian Easter Festival Overture (I'm looking at an ebay photo of the Lp,now!) & Anna Moffo singing Rachmaninov's 'Vocalise,which I used to play over & over again. It turned me into a bit of a Moffo fan,actually.....but enough of that,here! :o ;D
The sailing boat photo on the front was very 'Onedin Line' (My parents hated the show & always switched it off!)
The 3rd would have been right up Stokowski's street,I presume, and is,I suppose,a quite famous recording. But I do wonder what Khatchaturian admirers think of it? Is the score cut? Is the organ dubbed onto the recording? It's so many years since I heard the recording. It used to be in every library & was the recording that most people would hear. At least,I think so? ;D

'Stanley Black conducts Khatchaturian',was another one! Often with a garish sleeve! I used to think,"Who is this Stanley Black?" He sounded like one of those villains in Gerry Anderson shows,or a character in a Cluedo game!