Khachaturian
Violin Concerto in D minor
Sibelius
Violin Concerto in D minor, Op.47
Sergey Khachatryan (violin)

Sinfonia Varsovia
Emmanuel Krivine

Recorded in July 2003 in Studio S1, Polish Radio, Warsaw
CD No: NAÏVE V 4959
Duration: 70 minutes
Reviewed: December 2003
Sergey Khachatryan was born in 1985. He is impressive technically, of course; more importantly he has definite character – poise, emotional outreach, and a musical sense of shape and expression allied to improvisatory skills that are keen and communicative.
A sense of febrile rest introduces the Sibelius, and while there is the odd snatched phrase, and Khachatryan can be a little hyper at times, there is much that is commanding about his playing. He invests an appropriate brooding quality, reciprocated by the orchestra, an imploring line that avoids sentimentality, and a poeticism that is also evident in plaintive woodwind solos; this is Sibelius in the forest at twilight, the violin a carrier of magic potions, the cadenza is of charged eloquence. Much refinement and attention to detail distinguish a momentous, intense, but not bogged-down traversal of the first movement, which may however lack that final degree of ignition (certainly in the coda). In the Adagio, a ’vocal’ sense of delivery holds the concentration and draws one into a luminously dark world. The finale, here vigorous, has its whimsical moments beautifully captured.
The Khachaturian concerto, if somewhat resistible to this listener, has a spring in the step, exuberance, and an intoxication that certainly hits the mark, Khachatryan a deft and rich-timbred soloist, Krivine a precise and sympathetic partner. The slow movement is tenderly exposed.
I assume that Sinfonia Varsovia is a couple of desks short in the strings; this makes no odds in the Sibelius, which actually benefits from such leanness, but a little more weight in the Khachaturian wouldn’t have gone amiss. Nevertheless its exotic hypnosis is well conveyed and the whole proves very agreeable, not least the finale, which is light on its feet and rather less mechanical than it can be.
The recorded sound is airy and lucid. A good if slightly variable balance between soloist and orchestra aside (Khachatryan seems a fraction distant in Sibelius’s finale) doesn’t lessen the appeal of this CD (nor one or two noises-off), which is consistently enjoyable and often magnetic.

 

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