Violin Concerto (Khachaturian)

Aram Khachaturian's Violin Concerto in D minor is a violin concerto in three movements composed in 1940. It was composed for David Oistrakh and was premiered on November 16, 1940 by Oistrakh.[1]


In 1940, Khachaturian was enjoying tremendous professional success and personal joy.[2] He worked on the concerto in the tranquility of a wood composer's retreat west of Moscow; he said of the composition that he "worked without effort ... Themes came to me in such abundance that I had a hard time putting them in order."[3] Many sections of the concerto are reminiscent of the folk music of Khachaturian's native Armenia—while he never directly quotes a specific folk melody, "the exotic Oriental flavor of Armenian scales and melodies and the captivating rhythmic diversity of dances" are throughout the work.[4] The work has been charactered by "an exhilarating rhythmic drive and vitality, and a penchant for intoxicating, highly flavored, languorous melody owning much to the inflections of his native Armenian folk music."[5] Having won the Stalin prize in 1941, it has since become one of Khachaturian's famous pieces, in spite of considerable criticism.[6]


Violin concerto in D minor (1940)

  • First movement: Allegro con fermezza (about 14 minutes)
  • Second movement: Andante sostenuto (about 12 minutes)
  • Third movement: Allegro vivace (about 9 minutes)

A movement in sonata form, the Allegro con fermezza opens with a melody that has been described as "energetic"[7] a "rollicking dance-like theme,"[8] and this yields to a "more lyrical"[9] secondary melody.

The Andante sostenuto has been described as "a rhapsodic slow movement that sweeps one into a brooding wintry landscape."[10] Geoffrey Norris wrote, "The ease and spontaneity, pungency and flexibility of Khachaturian's melodic inventions are most clearly laid out in the Andante sostenuto of the central movement, cast in a free-flowing, quasi-improvisatory manner redolent of the art of Armenian folk music."[11] The second movement is a free-flowing rondo.[12]

The concluding Allegro vivace has been called "a whirlwind of motion and virtuosity."[13] In this movement, "the folks element is specially pronounced in the dance-like vigor of the main melody and in the repetitive, insistent, wild virtuosity of the solo instrument."[14]


Year Soloist Conductor,
1946 David Oistrakh Alexander Gauk,
State Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Russian Federation
1947 Gerhard Taschner Artur Rother,
Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
1955 David Oistrakh Aram Khachaturian,
National Philharmonic Orchestra
1956 Ruggiero Ricci Anatole Fistoulari,
London Philharmonic Orchestra
1964 Henryk Szeryng Antal Doráti,
London Symphony Orchestra
1967 David Oistrakh Aram Khachaturian,
Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra
1984 Itzhak Perlman Zubin Mehta,
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
1989 Valery Klimov Evgeni Svetlanov,
USSR Academy Symphony Orchestra
1990 Lydia Mordkovitch Neeme Järvi,
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
2004 Julia Fischer Yakov Kreizberg,
Russian National Orchestra
2007 Aaron Rosand Kees Bakels,
Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra
2008 Nicolas Koeckert José Serebrier,
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
2010 Ara Malikian Jesús Amigo,
Extremadura Symphony Orchestra
2011 Mikhail Simonyan Kristjan Järvi,
London Symphony Orchestra
2014 James Ehnes Mark Wigglesworth,
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
2018 Nemanja Radulovic Sascha Goetzel

Borusan Istanbul Philarmonic Orchestra

2019 Rachel Barton Pine Teddy Abrams,
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
2020 Antje Weithaas Daniel Raiskin,
Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie


  1. ^
  2. ^ Beaverton Symphony
  3. ^ Khachaturian, Violin Concerto, EMI CDC 7 47087 2, CD liner notes by Geoffrey Norris
  4. ^ Beaverton Symphony
  5. ^ NAXOS Liner notes by Kevin Sutton
  6. ^
  7. ^ Khachaturian, Violin Concerto, EMI CDC 7 47087 2, CD liner notes by Geoffrey Norris
  8. ^ NAXOS Liner notes by Kevin Sutton
  9. ^ NAXOS Liner notes by Kevin Sutton
  10. ^ NAXOS Liner notes by Kevin Sutton
  11. ^ Khachaturian, Violin Concerto, EMI CDC 7 47087 2, CD liner notes by Geoffrey Norris
  12. ^
  13. ^ NAXOS Liner notes by Kevin Sutton
  14. ^ Khachaturian, Violin Concerto, EMI CDC 7 47087 2, CD liner notes by Geoffrey Norris