Symphony No. 1 in E Minor/Khatchaturian

February 4, 2011

 

Written in 1934 as his graduation work, the symphony received its premiere in April of 1935 with Szenkar conducting the Moscow Philharmonic. Known for his Gayane ballet which includes the popular “Sabre Dance” and his Spartacus ballet we seldom if ever hear his 3 Symphonies being performed. I’ve heard his piano, violin, and flute concertos over the years but this 10 CD historical set released by Brilliant and conducted by Alexander Gauk is my first introduction to this E minor Symphony. As of this writing it is still available through Berkshire Record Outlet.

 

The 42 minute work is in three movements with the first movement an Andante being 19 minutes and introducing a theme which has ample opportunity for development. It is a theme you’ll recognize on multiple listens. While one can hear some influence from the orchestral showcase master Rimsky-Korsakov it is not in the same category. It is also a large step above so many of the “youth” works that I’ve listened to over the years. The Adagio offers some extremely nice playing from the woodwind section. The melody is carried over from the first movement but it is presented in a mysterious Middle Eastern oriental style. The Allegro also offers the melody from the first movement as it is in an agitated state. Included in-between is a fine yearning section from the woodwinds before it reverts back to an agitated conclusion.

 

This 1958 recording is a mono historical recording. While it has been nicely cleaned up the dynamic range is limited and your speakers will never be challenged. There is a recording of this work available on the ASV label (CDDCA858) but I’ve not heard it so I cannot comment. Gauk and the USSR State Radio & TV Symphony Orchestra seem to be quite at home with this piece. The 10 CD set is a good bargain and should be gotten before it disappears. Recommended.

 

Track Listing:

1….Andante-maestoso con passion-allegro ma non troppo (18:52)

2….Adagio sostenuto (12:25)

3….Allegro risoluto (11:08)

Total time is 42:25

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: