Armenian fiddler stands out in growing crowd

The Gazette (Montreal)
October 25, 2004 Monday
Final Edition

Armenian fiddler stands out in growing crowd: Ladies’ Morning Musical
Club guest has presence, excellent ear, freedom from technical


Young fiddlers are not exactly in short supply these days: a few more
and we will have too many. It is safe to say, however, that there will
always be demand for players of the calibre of Sergey Khachatryan, who
played yesterday for the Ladies’ Morning Musical Club.

Short, dark and handsome, this 19-year-old Armenian conveyed serious
intent with his very presence on the stage of Pollack Hall. Another
harbinger of his merit was the balanced, consequential program.

It was the playing, of course, that settled the matter. Bach’s Solo
Sonata in A Minor – especially the Fuga movement – established his
excellent ear and total freedom from technical encumbrances. With a
strong, ardent tone, Khachatryan could adopt the slow tempo he
preferred in the Andante. This was followed by a finale in which the
sudden, animating shifts of loud and soft were perfectly calibrated.

Next came Brahms’s Sonata Op. 108, also done in a deep, songful style.
Interesting how gifted musicians who are not coached in sounding
“modern” instinctively remind of us of great players of the past.
Khachatryan’s use of vibrato was pronounced, but not indiscriminate, as
he demonstrated in Mozart’s Sonata in E Minor by easing up a little on
the throttle.

In both of these probing works the young man was supported by his
sister Lusine with piano playing of spot-on coordination and great
expressive assurance.They collaborated to make a success of Arno
Babadjanian’s Violin Sonata of 1959, a 25-minute score of alternating
thunderstorm and moonlight. One might invoke Prokofiev as a very
distant musical relative of this late composer, but his style is quite
individual. Performed as splendidly as this, the Violin Sonata belongs
in the international repertoire.

There were two encores, Sarasate’s Playera (wonderfully dark and
simple) and Ravel’s Tzigane. I contrived to miss the latter showpiece
in my enthusiasm reach my computer and write the good news.