Label: Naxos Records
Small in form yet rich in artistic significance, these delightful Armenian works for violin and piano are both evocative and songful. Komitas Vardapet's poetic examples include Krounk ('The Crane'), the anthemic symbol of the motherland, whilst Khachaturian is represented by his enticing Dance in B flat major, his first ever work, and by violin arrangements from his popular ballet Gayane. This album presents some of Armenia's finest composers in a programme of nostalgic evocations, folkloric infusions and exquisite melodies.
"The album presents 15 works for violin, mostly with piano, by eight Armenian composers. While the names of Aram Khachaturian, Alexander Arutiunian and probably Komitas Vardapet are familiar to a larger group of listeners, the other composers are more like discoveries for most. With many borrowings from Armenian folk music and imitation of the sound of folk instruments, especially wind instruments, these works have a character connected to their homeland. Brief illuminating explanations for each contribution are offered by the accompanying text.
Violinist Nikolay Madoyan makes his debut for Naxos here. In addition to winning awards in musical competitions, he entered the Guinness Book of Records in 2017 for the Longest Violin Performance at more than 33 hours. On this album, he shines with short pieces that each have a substantial character despite their limited duration. With his sometimes elegant, sometimes dreamy, sometimes robustly virtuosic playing, the violinist is able to extract many details from the works.
The pianist Armine Grigoryan with her fine keyboard playing, which belongs to the violin part, offers an impeccable complement to expand the harmonic side of the music.
Thus, this album provides a successful and worth listening introduction to a region rich in specific music."