One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger

CD REVIEW



Some items
to consider


Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!
£11 post-free


we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


TROUBADISC

with Eggebrecht we get all the excitement we can handle

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation


absolutely thrilling


immediacy and spontaneity


Schumann Lieder


24 Preludes
one of the finest piano discs


‘Box of Delights.’


J S Bach A New Angle
Organ fans form an orderly queue


GERNSHEIM Quartets
a most welcome issue


I enjoyed it tremendously


the finest traditions of the house


music for theorbo
old and new

John Luther Adams
Become Desert
concealing a terrifying message


ground-breaking, winning release


Charpentier
screams quality


Surprise of the month


English Coronation, 1902-1953
magnificent achievement


 

 

Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978)
Masquerade - Suite (1944) from the incidental music (1941) to Lermontov's play (Waltz; Nocturne; Mazurka) [11:19]
Violin Concerto in D minor (1940) (cadenza in I by David Oistrakh) [35:33]
Gayaneh - Orchestral Suite (1943) from the ballet in four acts (1939-42) - scenario by Derzhavin (Dance of the Rose-Maidens; Ayesha's Awakening and Dance; Lullaby; Gayaneh's Adagio; Lezghinka; Lyrical Duet of Ayesha and Armen; Dance of the Old Men and Women; Sabre Dance) [31:26]
David Oistrakh (violin)
Philharmonia Orchestra/Aram Khachaturian
rec. London, Kingsway Hall, November-December 1954. Mono. ADD
EMI CLASSICS COMPOSERS IN PERSON CDC 5 55035 2 [78:31]

This is another well merited rescue by Arkiv who struck a deal with the majors to sell swathes of their deleted items under a custom production arrangement. Initially sold without liner-notes the product now offered by online retailer Arkiv is of high quality and is now pretty much identical  to the original except for the Arkiv logo.

The princes among EMI's Composers in Person series issued 1994-1997 included the Medtner collection and two others which I missed first time round: this one and the Schmitt/Roussel collection. The wide-ranging series drew exclusively on EMI's recordings between 1904 and 1958 and was masterminded by Ken Jagger. It was iconic and it was lamentable that it should have been deleted so quickly. 

These mono recordings made in London half a century ago sound very well indeed. Grainy but vibrant they have a gritty thrusting immediacy which fits well with Khachaturian's music. 

Masquerade was Lermontov's version of ‘Othello’ which was staged with this music in Moscow just the day before Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union. The Waltz is overpoweringly grand with a good melody and a streaming tail motif.  There is a hoarse-toned shadowy violin solo in the soulful Nocturne before a return to sumptuously frivolous Mazurka which always sounds to  me like the soundtrack to a supercharged Hollywood Easter Parade with flouncy white dresses and twirling parasols. The idiom might well fit with the sumptuous musicals encouraged by Stalin for the Soviet Union’s theatres – a genre that deserves reappraisal. Light music with a heavy hand but instantly captivating.

Sounding a mite less grainy and certainly 'cleaner', the Violin Concerto here is played by its dedicatee who also contributes his own cadenza at the end of the long first movement. It's a well known piece but the spiralling alternately kinetic then swooning romantic Allegro is followed by an andante which sinuously explores oriental sultriness. The finale blasts its way back into driven and supercharged  kinetic energy and jerkily sparked romance. Oistrakh is gorgeous in this but do try Kogan and Tretiakov if you can find them. Perhaps not a first choice given vintage sound but a rewarding second version. For a first choice try a later version from Oistrakh on BMG Melodiya if you can track it down. If you do not know this work but perhaps know the Barber, Korngold or Walton the chances are you will love it. Get it. 

After the concerto comes a goodly portion of the Gayaneh ballet score. This taps into the folk music of Armenia, Georgia and the Ukraine. It's light but by no means insubstantial and inhabits another world from the OTT Masquerade music. Here are eight movements from the four act ballet written between 1939 and 1942. The Dance of the Rose-Maidens is graceful and optimistic. Ayesha's Awakening sounds more tensely mysterious than ever before with almost fearful birdsong and moves almost imperceptibly into Ayesha's swooning dance complete with saxophone solo/. I wonder, did Khachaturian know Rachmaninov's contemporaneous Symphonic Dances? The reedy lulling of the oboe in Lullaby  sounds warmly Baxian at one moment then fades into one of the most gracious themes in all music - caressingly done here with avian woodwind chirrups accentuating the kindly melody. Gayaneh's Adagio is more austere and with even a hint of the second Viennese school. The Lezghinka whirls us back to Borodin's Polovtsi camp. The Lyrical Duet and Dance of the Old Men and Women may be flatter but they prepare the scene for Khachaturian's most famous piece - the Sabre Dance which erupts, blares, oompahs and strafes its spangled way through 2:10. 

Unmissable for Khachaturian enthusiasts and by all means have this as the sole representation of the composer if you can live with brilliant vivacious sound minus the last degree of refinement.

Rob Barnett

 

 

We are currently offering in excess of 52,000 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

 

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.