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Seen and Heard Recital Review



Mozart, Schumann, Shostakovich:  Sergey Khachatryan (violin); Lusine Khachatryan (piano). Wigmore Hall, Tuesday 10.10. 2006 (CC)


How wonderful to hear a brother-and-sister combination that works so well (in fact, almost telepathically at times).This recital by Sergey and Lusine Khachatryan was short (the Shostakovich Violin Sonata finished at 9.10pm) but had plenty of substance.


The Mozart offering was the B flat Sonata, K278 of 1779/80. Sergei’s tone was lovely and light (he plays a 1708 Stradivarius), his tuning spot-on. This was a sensitive performance from both parties (the minor-mode darkening of the first movement’s development was particularly well done) while the Andantino sostenuto e cantabile brought the keyboard to the fore. Lusine is a class player in her own right. The articulation from both players in the finale was a joy.


Schumann’s Violin Sonata No. 1 in A minor, Op. 105 of 1851 is a magnificent piece. Written, astonishingly, in less than a week, it essentially represents Schumann’s darker side. The triumph of the Khachatryans’ performance was that that darkness was communicated with no loss of clarity. The music sounded fresh and was full of warmth. There was real communication between the players here.


The deceptive simplicity of the brief middle ‘Allegretto’ (some really playful playing from Sergei) led to the perfectly crafted finale, where grandeur crowned the account.


Three and a half years ago, Frank Peter Zimmermann and Enrico Pace gave a memorable account of the Shostakovich Violin Sonata. Chez Khachatryans, though, it was finer still. Lusine used just the right amount of pedal in the earlier pages. Shadowy dances surfaced as the music progressed before a Scherzo of simply remarkable power burst upon the scene. Both players were unashamedly virtuoso (actually a word should also go to the page-turner – this is the first time I have seen one turn for the pianist and then get up and do the honours for the violinist, too).The final movement is in Shostakovich’s preferred form of the Passacaglia. Sergey’s pizzicato made a huge emotional impact. The players were immersed in deep concentration – as was the audience. In the lead-up to the piano’s variation it was almost as if both players had become one; the close was spellbinding.




Colin Clarke






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Contributors: Marc Bridle (North American Editor), Martin Anderson, Patrick Burnson, Frank Cadenhead, Colin Clarke, Paul Conway, Geoff Diggines, Sarah Dunlop, Evan Dickerson Melanie Eskenazi (London Editor) Robert J Farr, Abigail Frymann, Göran Forsling, Simon Hewitt-Jones, Bruce Hodges,Tim Hodgkinson, Martin Hoyle, Bernard Jacobson, Tristan Jakob-Hoff, Ben Killeen, Bill Kenny (Regional Editor), Ian Lace, Jean Martin, John Leeman, Neil McGowan, Bettina Mara, Robin Mitchell-Boyask, Simon Morgan, Aline Nassif, Anne Ozorio, Ian Pace, John Phillips, Jim Pritchard, John Quinn, Peter Quantrill, Alex Russell, Paul Serotsky, Harvey Steiman, Christopher Thomas, John Warnaby, Hans-Theodor Wolhfahrt, Peter Grahame Woolf (Founder & Emeritus Editor)