Piano Concerto (Khachaturian)
Aram Khachaturian's Piano Concerto in D-flat major, Op. 38, was composed in 1936. It was his first work to bring him recognition in the West, and it immediately entered the repertoire of many notable pianists.
The Piano Concerto was the first of three concertos Khachaturian wrote for the individual members of a renowned Soviet piano trio that performed together from 1941 until 1963. The others were: the Violin Concerto for David Oistrakh (1940); and the Cello Concerto for Sviatoslav Knushevitsky (1946).
The Piano Concerto in D-flat was written for Lev Oborin, who premiered it in Moscow on 12 July 1937, with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra under Lev Steinberg. The British premiere was on 13 April 1940, at the Queen's Hall, London, with pianist Moura Lympany (who was approached after Clifford Curzon had declined), conducted by Alan Bush. It received its American debut on 14 March 1942, by Maro Ajemian at the Juilliard School in New York, conducted by Albert Stoessel.
The piece is in three movements: the first movement, Allegro ma non troppo e maestoso, makes extensive use of the three-note theme of F, B-double-flat, and A-flat. The second movement, Andante con anima, is one of the few major classical pieces to make use of a flexatone, although this instrument is often omitted in performances and recordings of the concerto. The third movement, Allegro brillante, caps the piece in an exciting manner.
The concerto was first recorded in 1945, by Moura Lympany with the London Symphony Orchestra under Anatole Fistoulari, and again the following year by William Kapell with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Serge Koussevitzky The Kapell recording became a jukebox favourite, and Kapell was so associated with the work that he was often called "Khachaturian Kapell". Moura Lympany and Anatole Fistoulari recorded the work again in the mid 1950s. It has also been recorded by such pianists as its creator Lev Oborin, Oscar Levant, Peter Katin, Boris Berezovsky, Mindru Katz, Dora Serviarian Kuhn, Constantine Orbelian, Alicia de Larrocha, Leonard Pennario, Lorin Hollander and Alberto Portugheis.
- Aram Khachaturian, Onno van Rijen
- ivory classics
- Lim, Lemy Sungyoun (2010). The Reception of Women Pianists in London, 1950-60. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)
- Liner notes to Moura Lympany/Anatole Fistoulari recording, Everest 3303
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