St Petersburg, Concert Hall

Sergey Khachatryan and the Nairi string quartet

First concert of the sixteenth subscription
Johann Sebastian Bach
Sonata for solo violin No. 1 in G Minor
Partita for solo violin No. 2 in D Minor
Performed by Sergei Khachatryan

Fourteen Armenian Folk Miniatures.
Transcription for String Quartet by Sergei Aslamazian
Performed by Nairy Quartet
Sergei Khachatryan (1st violin)
Tigran Matevosyan (2nd violin)
Armen Torosyan (viola)
Levon Arakelyan (cello)
Sergey Khachatryan at the Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre. Watch...


Johann Sebastian Bach’s musical education began when he learnt the violin under his father’s tuition. And although in years to come the young Bach was to spend all of his time studying the organ, composition and choral singing, he had learned the violin so well that at the age of eighteen he had taken the post of violinist in the cappella of the Duke of Sachsen-Weimar. The instrument’s expressive, acoustic and technical possibilities are used so fully and brilliantly in the composer’s works that it can only be explained by his professional proficiency on the instrument.
The majority of Bach’s works for violin were written in his Köthen (1717–1723). The Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, completed in 1720, stand apart in the history of music. It is impossible to compare them with anything else. Not because “at times the relatively natural possibilities of the instrument are ignored in them, but because they frequently demand that the violinist be able to resolve extremely complex technical problems” (Leopold Auer); and not because the form of the violin solo sonatas and suites (partite in Italian) allows the instrument to display in full all of its expressive qualities... This music has such philosophical depths, such profound wisdom and even theology that the problem of interpreting it has engaged the minds of performers and music historians for over one hundred years now.

Svetlana Nikitina


Komitas was a legend of Armenian music and the founding father of the Armenian school of composition, a folklore specialist, a singer and a music historian. He collected and recorded thousands of folk songs and researched both church and folk music. Komitas’ real name was Soghomon Soghomonyan. He studied at a seminary and, having become a priest, took the Armenian Catholic name of Komitas, an outstanding 7th century poet.
Many of Komitas’ songs were transposed for string quartet by the founder and cellist of the Komitas Quartet, Sergei Aslamazian. Aslamazian was not just a performing musician but a gifted composer too and he created a plethora of beautiful images of Armenian quartet music. Komitas’ music always delighted Aslamazian and he approached arrangements of his songs with a profound sense of responsibility. Fully aware of the secrets and subtleties of quartet music, Aslamazian used the maximum performing capacity of the quartet, striving towards absolute harmony and clarity of sound. Aslamazian’s arrangements are executed with magnificent artistic taste and with a perfect knowledge of the technical abilities of the quartet. Aslamazian has an individual approach to each instrument, thanks to which the sound of the quartet as a whole emerges as something extremely colourful. At times, it seems as if it is not the violin, viola or cello being played in his arrangements, but rather Armenian folk instruments.

Age category 6+

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