Khachaturian Piano Concerto

Constantine Orbelian, piano
Neeme Jarvi, conductor
Scottish National Orchestra

Concerto for Piano and Orchestra / 33:13
Masquerade -- Suite / 16:17
Gayaneh -- 4 Movements from the Ballet / 12:21

Khachaturian's Piano Concerto was composed in 1936 and heard in London as early as 1940. Two years later it was played in the USA and was soon immensely popular with audiences and orchestras in the Western world. This is hardly surprising since the Concerto is in the grand Romantic tradition initiated by Liszt with Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov as its leading Russian proponents. Following that tradition, this concerto abounds with virtuoso passages, lush orchestration and unashamed melodies, as well as piano cadenzas of high quality, demanding unending use of the muscles and concentration on each of the soloist's eight fingers and two thumbs.

Masquerade Suite is the concert suite made by the composer from the incidental music he composed for a production of Mikhail Lermontov's play Masquerade in 1941, the Suite being put together in 1944.

Khachaturian's gift for musical imagery and his great sense of colour inevitably drew him towards the world of drama, and he composed memorable scores for ballet, the theatre and the cinema, of which perhaps his music for Spartacus, Masquerade and Gayaneh have become as evergreen as Rachmaninov's C sharp minor Prelude or Tchaikovsky's 1912 Overture.

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