Khachaturian’s violin concerto overflows with exotic melody and Mark Wigglesworth conducts Shostakovich’s electrifying Fourth Symphony.
The arabesques and infectious energy of Armenian folk music animate Aram Khachaturian’s extravagantly tuneful Violin Concerto, the ideal vehicle for James Ehnes’s suave and soulful playing.
Ehnes is a captivating performer with the bearing of a matinee-idol and a voluptuous sound, who ‘ennobles virtually every piece of music he performs’ (Limelight).
Shostakovich’s huge Fourth Symphony is a churning dynamo of sound for a huge orchestra. Visceral, grandiose, cartoonish and tragic, it is one of Shostakovich’s most pointed works: a jab at the pompous tyrants, and a cry of anguish. After its premiere was cancelled, Shostakovich turned to more covert means of dissent; his life depended on it.
Shostakovich expert Mark Wigglesworth has the measure of this enigmatic masterpiece that retains an electrifying power and relevance to this day.
‘‘Ehnes [is] a violinist in a class of his own... a piercing clarity and sweet lyricism’’
The Times, London