James Galway Plays Khachaturian

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Galway plays the Violin Concerto with a degree of imaginative flair and technical ease that one almost believes the music was conceived with the flute in mind.

Khachaturian's Flute Concerto was transcribed by Jean-Pierre Rampal from the Violin Concerto with the composer's blessing, and he has already made an excellent recording of it which is available on Erato's mid-price Presence label (EPRI5527,11/84). Coupled with a no-less-enjoyable version of the lbert Flute Concerto it has the benefit of a strikingly fine 1970 analogue recording. Galway has prepared his own edition of the solo part "which goes even further in its attempts to adapt the solo line to the characteristics of the flute". He also plays the work with that degree of imaginative flair and technical ease that he has previously applied to Vivaldi's The Four Seasons and Cesar Franck's Violin Sonata, which makes one almost believe the music was conceived with the flute in mind. He is particularly appealing in the dreamy and languorous melodies of Khachaturian's Andante; but also in the unforgettable second subject of the first movement (Khachaturian wrote some marvellous tunes in this work) Galway's sweet, yet never sugary timbre gives the melody a radiant lyrical colouring. The flute for all its bravura can't match the violin in the finale, but overall the piece is very enjoyable in its new dress.

Instead of another concerto Galway opts to arrange three Khachaturian lollipops as encores, and again the combination of lyrical ardour (in the famous Adagio) and sparkling, easy virtuosity (in the Sabre Dance, here elegant rather than noisy) is very persuasive. The digital recording, made in Watford Town Hall, is spacious but the resonance brings a slight lack of refinement in tuttis—the big fortissimo climaxes in the centre and towards the end of the concerto's slow movement are much too fierce, and this applies to the chrome cassette as well as the LP. They are in fact very closely matched, though the level of tape transfer is not especially high.

-- Gramophone [2/1986]

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: RCA7010

  • UPC: 078635701029

  • Label: RCA

  • Composer: Aram Khachaturian

  • Conductor: Myung-Whun Chung

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

  • Performer: James Galway