Work: Concerto for Piano in D flat major
About This Work
Although Aram Khachaturian is revered in the Soviet Union for a large body of music, his fame in the West is based largely on a mere handful of works, among which is the Piano Concerto (1936). The concerto's widespread appeal is at once
understandable, given its virtuosic flair, honest, unabashedly passionate melodic sense, and rich orchestration, all in the Russian Romantic manner of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov.
The opening movement of the concerto is cast in a somewhat loose sonata form, the impatient main theme developing almost immediately upon its appearance. Out of this sonic mass the secondary material arises and evolves into a powerful, cerebral monologue for the soloist before the furious development leads into an exuberant, headstrong cadenza. The primary theme returns in force as the subject of the coda. The second movement begins with a dignified melody, introduced by the bass clarinet. The dramatic heart of the movement is the middle section, a potent combination of oriental flavoring and turbulent Russian drama that builds to an ecstatic climax. The movement is rounded out by a return of the introductory material. The far-reaching, virtuosic Allegro brillante finale is built around contrasting themes and an outrageous, bravura cadenza. The concerto comes to a close with the return, on a grand scale, of material from the first movement.
-- Graham Olson
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