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Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978)
Violin Concerto (1943) [37:13]
Masquerade Suite (1952) [17:23]
Ara Malikian (violin)
Extremadura Symphony Orchestra/Jesús Amigo
rec. no details given
Super Audio CD Hybrid format stereo or multichannel 5.1
Experience Classicsonline

This is the second of two CDs from the Non Profit Music label over which Ara Malikian seems to have a presiding role.

Here Malikian takes on the Khachaturian concerto and to good effect. He is dazzlingly well served by the NPM engineers and proves, once again, that this is a Concerto that can take the most lurid of colours. Not only can it tolerate such an approach it revels in the neon. This is a most ingratiating concerto and while a more conventional route might be via one of the recordings by Oistrakh (EMI Classics or Brilliant) or Kogan (Russian Revelation) or Gutnikov (Regis) this is a very good place to start. It certainly captures the work's oriental tang, catchy appeal and gaudy rasp. Mailikian and the Extremadura Orchestra are not going to short-change you. As for the Masquerade Suite it is irresistible but bring your Raybans. The Suite does however seems a little seized up in the Waltz and in the Savannah belle-style Mazurka but the Nocturne and Romance find a silky dignity. The zany clowning nonsense of the circus-ring Galop is extremely well done. Ultimately though I cannot prefer this to the long ASV series equivalents produced by the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra and Loris Tjeknavorian. For the Violin Concerto you must hear the Kogan, Oistrakh or Gutnikov versions but Malikian can stand the comparison. Given Malikian’s signal skills and brilliance it’s a shame that Non Profit Music were not a little more intrepid: they could have offered us a recording of the Concerto-Rhapsody for violin and orchestra.

Once again there is no catalogue number. This will not help sales although I see that there is a bar code.

This is a rather good version of the Concerto with some touching work in Masquerade if a little under-powered in what are meant to be the more uproarious movements.
Rob Barnett


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