Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Khachatryan, Faust and a Musical Flood

A few years ago I was at a concert (Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Marin Alsop) where the soloist was the teenage Sergey Khachatryan. I was very impressed with his playing (and also by the fact that the young Sergey had obviously grown since his jacket and trousers were bought for him, and both were too short on arms and legs; up and coming artists don't have money for constant new wardrobes). I bought Khachatryan's latest CD – the three Brahms sonatas – even though I really have no need whatsoever for yet another set of the three Brahms sonatas; this really has to be the last set. The performances, with his sister Lusine as the pianist, are expert and thoroughly musical. If only I didn't have so many competitors (including the superb set by Boris Goldstein).

At the same time, and for much the same reasons of loyalty, I bought Isabelle Faust playing the two Bartok concertos, though I am not fond of the two works, even if I find the second is marginally more interesting than the first. Both Bartok and Stravinsky seem to me to have written much de-humanised music (unlike their semi-contemporaries Rachmaninov or Shostakovich). But I really like Isabelle Faust's playing, just as I really like the playing of Kristof Barati and a few others. It is refreshing to listen to the more sober Central European style of artists such as Faust, Barati, Frank Peter Zimmermann and ChristianTetzlaff after the excesses of the Russian / American clones. Momentarily overwhelmed by a mammoth tide of things to listen to – I have just acquired Klemperer in four Mozart operas – I really must stop buying. Maybe there are Music Buyers Anonymous chapters?

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