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Manoug Parikian in Sweden
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 - 1791)
Divertimento in B flat for 2 Horns and String Quartet, K287 (1777) [33:48]
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
String Sextet Op.81b (1794-95) [17:37]
Manoug Parikian (violin)
Tore Johnsen (violin)
Bengt Andersson (viola)
Jan Neander (cello)
Gunnar Wennberg (horn)
Bengt Sundberg (horn)
rec. Swedish Radio, Stockholm, February 1971 (Mozart) and January 1974 (Beethoven)
ALTFIOL AIVCD004 [51:25]
Experience Classicsonline


I saw Manoug Parikian only once in concert as a soloist, not too long before his death. He played the Delius concerto, which he’d studied many years before with its dedicatee, Albert Sammons. It was a concert in a suburban church and so was hardly the most prestigious affair in the world but Parikian was a professional to his fingertips and played beautifully. I wish some recorded evidence exists somewhere of his way with this work.

But he was no stranger to the core repertoire, either concerto or chamber. I remember a coupling he made in Germany of Mozart’s K216 and K218 when he was accompanied by Walter Goehr for instance, but he made a number of intriguing recordings across the repertoire and, as is well known, was a devoted proponent of contemporary music.

Parikian was a steady visitor to Scandinavia – not unlike the earlier visits of another British violinist and contemporary, Alan Loveday. But it was Parikian who gave the prestigious first Scandinavian performance of Shostakovich’s First Concerto with the visiting RPO. And in the years to come he made numerous visits as soloist, chamber player and teacher and indeed he gave one of his very last performances in Sweden, a month before his death in November 1987. Many Swedish violinists studied with him either in their own country or in London – and in fact the three string players who comprised the Johnsen trio and are recorded with him here all studied with Parikian. His influence on Swedish violin playing continues to this day.

This disc presents two performances made for Swedish Radio in 1961 and 1974. He was fifty one when he set down the Mozart Divertimento with his Swedish colleagues. The problems here are primarily ones of balance with the two horns, problems that are very satisfactorily met by the technicians from Swedish Radio. The strong concertante first violin part is taken by Parikian with considerable dash – he was always a fine Mozartian in whatever context – and he and his colleagues bring real reserves of grazioso elegance to the first variation of the second movement. Good blend and a good balance are paramount – as is a fine colouration in the strings. The Adagio generates its own internal rhythmic impetus whilst the Minueto is relaxed and generously fluid.

The companion Beethoven Sextet also requires expert control of the balance and dynamic problems. Recorded a few years later this is another good example of Parikian’s ensemble-leading qualities. The two horns are on rich and fine form and blend attractively – their ebullient hunting theme in the finale is very well brought off – whilst the strings phrase with sprightly assurance. Altogether it’s a well characterised and adept reading and again very well captured and balanced by the radio team.

I dare say that these expert and mellifluous performances are not quite the sturm und drang of the heroic concerto or sonata literature that some might wish for. But they do very well reflect the kind of repertoire Parikian played – and the performances reveal his influence and importance in Sweden. And for that we must thank Altfiol and encourage them to release more things from the vaults to sit alongside this pleasurable souvenir.

Jonathan Woolf




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