Despite no doubt dedicated performances, this recording of Khachaturian's Piano Concerto, Sonatina, and Toccata are distinctly disappointing. Part of the responsibility for this is pianist Alberto Portugheis, who plays with plenty of panache but not enough power and nowhere near enough precision. Part of the responsibility is conductor Loris Tjeknavorian, who leads the London Symphony Orchestra in a tepid accompaniment to the Piano Concerto with especially grave ensemble and intonation problems in the slow movement. Part of the responsibility is AVS, which gives Portugheis, Tjeknavorian, and the LSO distant and dismal recorded sound. But most of the responsibility is the incontrovertible fact that William Kapell recorded the Khachaturian Piano Concerto at the height of his powers and, after that awesome achievement, any merely dedicated performance cannot help but sound distinctly disappointing.
Arshak II is the first Armenian classical opera, written by Dikran Tchouhadjian and T. Terzian in 1868. Its libretto, a lyrical tragedy in Armenian and Italian, is based on historical reports about King Arsaces II (Arshak II), written by Movses Khorenatsi and Pavstos Buzand.
"Arshak II" is the first “Armenian grand opera” with choruses and ballets. It was partially staged in 1873, assembled on November 29, 1945 at the Armenian Opera Theater in Yerevan and was awarded by the USSR State Prize in 1946. Arshak II is a "gem" of Armenian musical culture. In 2001, it was staged at the San Francisco Opera. Pavel Lisitsian, Mihran Yerkat, Tigran Levonyan were among the performers of Arshak's role.
A unique complete collection released for the first time in Los Angeles, California, the Hamazkayin Music Committee is proud to present the works of Aram Khachaturian who was the first composer to place Armenian music on the international podium. By blending his individual creativity with distinctive features common to West European art forms, the style of medieval monophony, Armenian folkloric traditions, the art of ashughs, and the purism of artistic expression of the great Komitas, Khachaturian created a new aesthetic dimension in the art of music…
These performances of Khachaturian's concertos for piano and violin are almost but not quite definitive. Both works are played by the performers for whom they were composed, Lev Oborin in the Piano Concerto and David Oistrakh in the Violin Concerto, and both receive performances of complete commitment, total dedication, utter authority, and unbelievable virtuosity.