Karl Miller wrote:
>My first recording was the London issue with the composer conducting.
>I have tried to collect every version I can find. I have never figured
>out why it isn't performed very often. If of interest, I can list the
>recordings I have, including a live performance with Stokowski conducting.
Please do proceed with that list.
It is very interesting to observe such obvious enthusiasm for this
symphony (which, incidentally, I share). Khachaturian was one of those
composers of whom it was, & possibly still is, quite fashionable to
criticise for bombast with specifically targeted pieces (such as this
very symphony), for example:
"This was a propaganda piece, written during the war when the
composer was evacuated from Moscow. Khachaturian lays the
Armenian colour on very thickly but, unlike the splendid Violin
Concerto of two years earlier, this does not develop into a
coherent argument, let alone a genuinely symphonic one. The
musical value is roughly in inverse proportion to the noise made,
and it is a very loud score indeed." [1987 Penguin Guide]
So what does this really tell us about the aesthetic qualities of the
symphony?... Absolutely nothing! The critic simply reveals by simple
assertion something of his own preferences (and there's nothing inherently
wrong with that), but any simple assertion made with no solid foundation
in scholarship is simply refuted by any other simplistic counter-assertion.
Of course, this is the level at which most people, including the present
writer, operate when dealing with matters in which they have not received