Flute concerto

It is tempting to suppose that the concerto form is one that was unlikely to have been cultivated by Soviet musical politics in the thirties and forties. After all, a concerto is purely instrumental, and does not lend itself to the kind of didactic explanations occasionally appended to symphonies. From the point of view of communicating ideology, the concerto might appear useless. Concertos also encourage their performers to show what they can do, to demonstrate the possibilities concealed within their instrument. Such approaches were often condemned in the Soviet Union under the dismissive term "formalism." And yet interestingly, during the Stalinist era, the concerto was a very important genre. It seems that the cultural commissars were able to overlook certain conflicting ideological elements, in the interests of decent music. As a result, concerto writing was tolerated and indeed, often explicitly encouraged. Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978) was born in Georgia to an Armenian family. He studied in Moscow where he lived and worked as a Soviet composer. He rewrote his 1940 violin concerto for flute and orchestra. This work utilises exotic Eastern folk rhythms and melodies within the framework of the Western musical tradition. The rhythmic vitality of the concerto is perhaps reminiscent of a baroque concerto. The slow movement features a lamento, rich in folk ornamentation. The dance-like finale contains thematic references to the earlier movements. The dedicatee of the Flute Concerto’s earlier incarnation was violinist David Oistrach, who premiered it in Moscow in 1940. The composer was awarded the Stalin Prize for his efforts.