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Grigor Khachatryan is an Armenian-American, born in 1987 in Yerevan and brought up in post-Soviet Union Armenia. He came to the United States as a teenager, studying piano at Indiana University and completing a doctorate in piano performance. As a concert artist and composer he’s won numerous awards and competitions, and now serves on the faculty at Concordia College, Moorhead. Khachatryan’s Piano Sonata in F-sharp minor Op 2, ‘Battle of Avarayr’, celebrates one of the most significant battles in Armenian history, fought against the Persians in 451 CE. His Piano Sonata in C-sharp minor Op 1, ‘David of Sassoun’, is dedicated to a legendary national hero.

There’s no doubt about the composer’s passionate espousal of freedom, and it’s fair to describe the ethos of the sonatas as Armenian patriotic music. Both works rely on surprisingly traditional Classical forms, expressing late Romantic and mainstream 20th-century eclecticism. They’re dramatic, big-boned scores which make considerable pianistic demands on the performer. Khachatryan rises to his own challenges with readings that are exciting and tonally rich, captured in clear, bright sound. His accompanying booklet essay is engaging and informative. An interesting curiosity.

ANDY HAMILTON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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