José Serebrier Conducts Khachaturian’s Violin Concerto and Concerto-Rhapsody

On May 26, Naxos releases the newest recording by Grammy® Award-winning conductor-composer José Serebrier: Khachaturian Violin Concerto and Concerto-Rhapsody. Here, Serebrier leads the world-renowned Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and German-Brazilian violinist Nicolas Koeckert.One of Armenia’s greatest composers, Aram Khachaturian received both acclaim and criticism from the Soviet regime; his three Concerto-Rhapsodies won the USSR State Prize in 1941. “A concerto is music with chandeliers burning bright; a rhapsody is music with chandeliers dimmed, and the Concerto-Rhapsodies are both,” he noted. In the Violin Concerto, the passionately heroic first movement and poignant Andante sostenuto lead to a virtuosic, dancing finale.

Serebrier, who met Khachaturian when he was working with Leopold Stokowski, explains:

“I had the pleasure and privilege of having lunch with Khachaturian in New York, with Leopold Stokowski, when Stokowski invited him to conduct a concert of his music with the American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. He had a wonderful sense of humor, and obvious charm and modesty. He stayed on after one of his rehearsals to watch me rehearse the orchestra for one of my own concerts, and sat in the hall next to Stokowski.”

Of this particular repertoire, the conductor remarks: “While the Violin Concerto is a staple of the repertoire, the Concerto-Rhapsody is very rarely performed, and has enormous difficulties for the soloist. In some ways, it’s more interesting and imaginative than the concerto, certainly more original.”