Sergey Khachatryan press reviews
Brahms’s Violin Concerto [was] given an intensely focused rendering by the talented young Armenian, Sergey Khachatryan. No grandstanding tricks for him. Head down, Khachatryan just fiddled away, the music’s servant, his fingers lyrical, his face tortured — never more so than in the anguished fragility of his Bach sarabande encore. Repeatedly in the Brahms he tapered phrases toward the most delicate of pianissimos.
The Times, 15 June 2010
Brahms Concerto / Philharmonia Orchestra / Esa-Pekka Salonen
The 25-year-old Armenian powerhouse Sergey Khachatryan was the soloist, and the performance was epic in every sense of the word. At a time when some interpreters are shading the work down, it came as something of a relief to find its magnificence acknowledged again.
If there was a flaw, it was one of opulence. Khachatryan's sound is best described as heady. The fullness of his tone was remarkable, not only in the vaunting assertion of his first phrases and the broad lyricism of what followed, but also in the filigree pianissimos of the cadenza and the sweetness of the adagio. Salonen's response was to insist on a corresponding weight and warmth of orchestral texture. Speeds were on the slow side, and it was a measure of both artists' commitment that tension and pace were never allowed to flag.’
The Guardian, 14 June 2010
Brahms Concerto / Philharmonia Orchestra / Esa-Pekka Salonen
The special element in this concert was the brilliant account of the Khachaturian Violin Concerto by the young Armenian-born violinist Sergey Khachatryan. A violinist with an astonishing command of the instrument, he is no less a musician of the highest level. All elements of the concerto were entered into with the the searching concentration and mental focus. The framing movements were filled with passion and fire, not to mention spot-on tuning and brilliant execution, and the rhapsodic middle movement was a marvel of lyric intensity.
Responding to the exceptionally warm applause, Khachatryan presented a wonderfully evocative encore of a folk-inflected Armenian solo violin work, the playing once again the height of poetry and refinement.
Calgary Herald, 15 May 2010
Khachaturian Concerto / Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra / Roberto Minczuk
[This] Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto was completely rebuilt from the ground up…Violinist Sergey Khachatryan countered by playing the solo exposition slowly and quietly personal. He's got a sweet tone, an inner glow, and his untraditional way with phrasing and tempos verged on revelatory.
Philadelphia Inquirer, 31 October 2009
Tchaikovsky Concerto / Philadelphia Orchestra / Vladimir Jurowski
It’s the hardest lesson to master, because it can’t be taught. Sure, the musician has found out how to play Bach, Brahms or Beethoven, but has he found his own voice, too--the one that ultimately draws the audience to come back to him?
When it comes to Sergey Khachatryan, the answer is a huge, huge yes. There’s a big, glossy heap of talented violinists at the moment, but what separates this young Armenian from the pack isn’t just the rich sound of his Strad (the 1708 “Huggins”, if you’re interested in such things); it’s how forcefully, how individually he deploys it. By the end of this recital, delivered with another Khachatryan (Lusine, his sister) at the piano, I felt so convinced that his way was going to be the right way that what the critical pen was scribbling on the critical notebook seemed pretty irrelevant.
Perhaps the biggest surprise about Khachatryan is that his choices aren’t the obvious ones: he’s not one of those firecrackers who confuse pace and volume with energy and intensity. Opening with Bach’s unaccompanied D minor Partita he shirked anything to do with lean, limber Bach and went for old-fashioned, spacious Romanticism. But there was a wealth of expressive detailling here: the Courante was driven and tense; an intimate Sarabande breathed into life like a whisper in the dark. And then that mighty Chaconne, in Khachatryan’s hands a restless search for beauty that felt like an epic but never felt overwrought: it drew you in, rather than reaching beyond Bach’s natural austerity.
Brahms’s Violin Sonata No 1 came next, introducing a sibling partnership that clearly thought the same way: reflection over showmanship. Violinist and pianist handled it with rapt affection and the sort of noncholant, natural charm that could only mean hours in the practice room.
Then, another demon of the repertoire, Beethoven’s Kreutzer sonata, and another surprise. Its obsessive rhythms and repeated refrains normally scream high-octane drama, but it was the soulful tang of Khachatryan’s Strad that led the way, and what stayed in the mind was actually the soft, middle movement, a tender set of variations served up with sprung, silken elegance. A spell-binding encore, an arrangement of Rachmaninov’s Vocalise, rounded things off. By then, the notebook had long been abandoned: one for the personal archive instead.
The Times, 20 March 2009
Recital at Wigmore Hall, 18 March 2009
The splendid young Armenian violinist Sergey Khachatryan probes the expressive corners of Bach's unaccompanied sonatas and partitas on his new two-disc recording. The dance elements receive stately or buoyant treatment, the slow movements are intensely felt and the great Ciaconna (from the Partita No. 2) emerges as the commanding edifice it is when shaped by the right hands and heart. Khachatryan can be heard breathing with the music as he gives intense voice to Bach's transcendent achievements.
www.cleveland.com, 16 May 2010
Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Naïve Classique
I am beginning to lose count of the times Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto has passed through my ears. In this Shostakovich centenary year can there be anything new left to say about this challenging epic? In some cases, no. But when the violin is fingered by Sergey Khachatryan, the 21-year-old from Armenia, mentored by Anne-Sophie Mutter, the answer is yes. The moment he strikes up in Naive’s recording, you notice the concentrated, mournful tone, the sparing vibrato and the effortless way his violin song seems to continue without hiccup or pause.
With a young performer, fresh from winning the 2005 Queen Elizabeth Competition in Brussels, you might expect conscious panache and visible muscles. Khachatryan proves mature enough to forgo show-off stunts for the music’s interior drama. The sense of focus in this performance is extraordinary.
The Times, 6 October 2006
Shostakovich: Violin Concertos, Naive Classique