- Sonata for violin & piano in A major, M. 8
- Sonata for violin & piano, Op. 134
Although they were composed for the same instrumental combination, it's hard to think of two more different works than the violin sonatas of César Franck and Dmitry Shostakovich. Franck's four-movement work is mostly fast, mostly lyrical, mostly blissful, and always beautiful. Shostakovich's three-movement work is mostly slow, mostly dramatic, mostly agonized, and rarely beautiful in a way most listeners would recognize as beautiful. If a young violinist wanted to show his/her range as a musician, a disc coupling the two would be the way to do it, and on this Naïve disc, young Armenian violinist Sergey Khachatryan certainly shows his range. With his sister Lusine on piano, Khachatryan creates one of the most ravishingly beautiful performances of the Franck sonata ever recorded. His tone is insinuating, his phrasing undulating, and his warmth almost palpable. But though the work's radiant lyricism is to the fore in his performance, it is the work's passion keeping music surging relentlessly forward. In the long history of recordings there have been performances of Franck's sonata to match this one, but there have been few to exceed it. Then there's the Khachatryan siblings' Shostakovich sonata, and so radically different is it in every way from their Franck sonata that it's hard to believe they are the same performers. Where before Lusine was a subtle and sensitive accompanist, here she is a no-holds-barred tigress tearing into the music with blazing virtuosity and enormous expressivity. But the bigger change is in Sergey's playing. Gone is the seductive romantic and present is the brutal nihilist. With violent strength and unerring accuracy, Sergey creates one of the most immensely compelling performances of the Shostakovich sonata ever recorded. Captured in extremely immediate digital sound by Naïve, this disc demonstrates not only the young violinist's range, it demonstrates his brilliance as a musician.