Work: Concerto for Violin in D minor
About This Work
The particular élan that characterizes Aram Khachaturian's concerti has no doubt contributed to their continued popularity, and indeed, the Violin Concerto (1940) takes a place among the staples of the twentieth century violin repertoire. The
concerto bears the unmistakable stamp of its composer in its characteristic rhythmic drive and rich, folk-infused melodies. The first movement begins with a fierce, energetic figure, played in unison, that eventually evolves into the rustically lyrical second subject. The intoxicating Andante sostenuto second movement, redolent of the undulating, gradually unfolding style of ashugs (Armenian folk musicians), has a free-flowing, semi-improvisatory feel. Based largely on material from the first movement's secondary theme, the highly folk-influenced finale takes the form of a vigorous Armenian country dance in which the solo violin figures prominently with unrelenting, fiery virtuosity.
Khachaturian wrote the Violin Concerto for David Oistrakh, the dedicatee of so many mid-century Russian violin concerti. Oistrakh was the soloist at the work's premiere on November 16, 1940.
-- Graham Olson
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