- Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 77 (published as Op. 99)
- Violin Concerto No. 2 in C sharp minor, Op. 129
Photographed from certain angles to showcase his curly hair, Sergey Khachatryan bears an uncanny resemblance to Josh Groban. But anyone who picks up the young musician's Shostakovich album will discover not a pop balladeer but a violinist of intensely serious purpose -- and will be all the richer for it. Too seldom are Shostakovich's two violin concertos paired on a single disc, though Daniel Hope did so shortly before Khachatryan made his own offering. (For that matter, the Second Concerto is too seldom recorded at all.) A veteran of the international competition circuit in his early 20s, Khachatryan has an explosive technique that places him on an even playing field with the many other violinists who released Shostakovich recordings during the composer's centennial year in 2006; the virtuoso cadenza and the mad rush of the final Burlesque are equally thrilling in the First Concerto, and the soloist's Stradivarius sings with a lean, clear tone that sustains the violin line expressively throughout both works. Parts of the Second Concerto convey a character of almost classical balance in Khachatryan's hands -- it's unusual, and refreshing, for a Shostakovich concerto to make one eager to hear the performer take on Mozart. With luck we'll have the chance to hear that and much more, for with Khachatryan's arrival the music scene has gained a major new talent.