Hello all,
Our music for this week is the violin concerto of Aram Khatchaturian, an Armenian composer from the mid-twentieth century. It is performed by violinist Amaury Coeytaux, who is now the first violinist of the internationally-acclaimed Modigliani String Quartet.
Khachaturian studied cello at the Moscow Conservatory, but his compositional gifts extended beyond his chosen instrument. He wrote a piano concerto, a cello concerto, and the violin concerto you will hear today, all of which are based on folk tunes from his native Armenia. An astute listener will note that the thematic and harmonic characteristics of this piece are distinctly Eastern European. The pianists among you may even hear shades of Rachmaninoff or Prokofiev in the third movement.
This concerto is one of the happiest, most lively pieces of music in the repertoire. Khachaturian wrote that he was in a jubilant mood at the time he wrote this concerto because he was awaiting the birth of his first child, a son, and had just experienced the successful premiere of his ballet Happiness in Moscow. The music reflects this joyful energy, with its high-flying virtuosity, dazzling cadenza near the end of the first movement, and breakneck-speed ending.

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