Alexander Arutiunian was born on 2 September 1920 in Yerevan, where he received his education (he later completed his training under Genrikh Litinsky in Moscow in the period 1946–48). During the fifty years of his composing career Arutiunian has written a large number of instrumental concertos, rhapsodies, poems for piano, violin and cello, flute, oboe, female voice and orchestra, and also the first Armenian concertos for brass instruments: the trumpet, horn, trombone and tuba. As a result of his interest in brass instruments, he wrote his Armenian Sketches quintet that became a repertory piece. His vocal and orchestral works has strengthened the international acclaim accorded to him. Arutiunian holds titles including Professor of Composition of the Conservatoire of Yerevan, People’s Artist of 1 ashug: a Caucasian folk singer and poet
© 1997 Svetlana Sarkisyan
With this superlative 1999 recording by violinist Isabelle van Keulen with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Thomas Dausgaard, the Swedish modernist Allan Pettersson's late Second Violin Concerto receives its first digital recording. The only previous recording on Capriccio from 1980 had been performed by the forces that gave the work its premiere early that year, violinist Ida Haendel with the Swedish Radio Symphony under Herbert Blomstedt, and it stood inviolate for almost 20 years until the arrival of this disc.
None of these reconstructions are included in Teldec’s Bach 2000, although the better-known ‘originals’ obviously are. The real newcomer is the Sinfonia, BWV1045 (5'34'') ‘to an unknown cantata’ which – as befits a BWV number that immediately precedes the First Brandenburg Concerto – is rumbustious, festive and thematically likeable. Time and again I could sense allusions to other Bach instrumental pieces, though the soloist’s ceaseless arpeggiating is sometimes a distraction. We’re told it’s authentic (the manuscript source suggests a violin concerto in the making) but something about its harmonic language doesn’t quite ring true, though that reaction might well be due to lack of familiarity.