The Divinely Human Prison: Chapter Twenty-One: History's Greatest Violinist: Sergey Kachatryan
By Michael Moriarty
That is an awfully outrageous claim!
That this young genius, Sergey Kachatryan, even after such giants as Jascha Heifetz and Isaac Stern, is the greatest violinist in the history of the world?!
That is, of course, entirely my own selfish claim, entirely guided by my own opinion of musical divinity.
With the patience of my 74 years, my eternally impatient soul has been waiting for an artist such as Sergey Kachatryan.
I am now listening to this extraordinary concert for the second time in my life.
Unfortunately, if you are not a member of the "Medici" musical offerings, you will have to sign up. If you adore symphonic music, you will not regret the investment.
Until I heard this violin concerto composed by Aram Kachaturian, my favorite violin classic had been Bela Bartok's Second Violin Concerto.
I am still not sure whether it is Kachaturian's creation or Sergey Kachatryan's startlingly personal ownership of this unmistakably and intensely Slavic masterpiece.
It is obviously both.
However, the journey that this young, 30 year-old Kachatryan takes us on?!
The first movement's cadenza, the solo portion of its pilgrimage?
Leading into the orchestra's return?
And the sounds of such yearning?!
The private, painfully secret revelations… then the return to the movement's original theme?
The second movement's adagio?
So painfully lush, I want to scream!
But in the hands of this wunderkind?!
I am too obsessed with his breath-taking knowledge of all the secrets this journey contains.
His almost obscenely private ownership of such exquisite pain.
"You're killin' me, Sergey!"
"But don't stop!! Don't stop killin' me!!!"
So slowly and hesitantly offered that when the orchestra finally erupts at the end of this second movement?!
The lone, breath-taking agony of the solo violin's return?
Ending in an unresolved suspension?!
And a lone audience member offering his inappropriate but barely contained claps of awed-appreciation?!
The third and final movement erupts in an ecstasy that is so quietly contained within this artist's mastery… that we know he has a brief and mysterious return to the painful lyricism of the first two movements.
Yet the orchestra returns, insistently reminding our young genius of the call to celebration and ecstasy!
Rebirth demands a dark and melancholy child dance!
Dance! Dance! Dance!!
And Dance he does!!!
Like Christ at the Marriage of Cana.
Little do we know that the concert's theme, this young maestro's message is a memorial tribute to the victims of Turkey's genocidal slaughter of Armenians during World War I.
"The Crane" by Komitas Vardapet is Sergey's encore.
No wonder Sergey Kachatryan chose to convey, in the most amazingly subtle, profound and expert way, a reluctance in the last movement to completely and wholeheartedly join in with the orchestra's jubilation.
On overture from an obscure opera by Dimitri Kabalevsky was the this concert's first offering.
Though the conductor, Tugan Sokhiev, seemed to take an absurdly long time to finally enter, he did, eventually, mount the podium and wake us all up with the typical ingredients of an opera's opening alarums.
"Something wonderful is going to happen!!"
And indeed it does.
Kabalevsky's overture is indeed thrilling!
What we are about to hear, however, is beyond a theatrical adventure.
This is now the third time I have heard the Aram Kachaturian violin concerto performed by Sergey Kachatryan.
The first movement leaps off to the very excitement promised by the Kabalevsky overture.
A corner, however, is turned early on in the first movement. A transformation that soon begins to wail, yes, call out to us both like a pure child and then in the passions of an enraged and divinely bitter adult.
Now begins the cadenza.
With an occasional echo in the woodwinds of what this young maestro is sharing, we are led into Kachatryan's soliloquy.
The artist, both that of the composer and the soloist, is entwined within recollections of his past. Brilliant moments of it haunt our own sense of the past until, at last, the orchestra must return to place the lone soul back upon his original path.
Again, however, he leaves the dominant theme to wander as he must, compelling the orchestra to follow him…
Finally we, for the final time, return to the allegro vivace.
The bassoons begin a darker hunt for fulfillment.
So skillfully shared by both our young genius and his devoted followers in the orchestra.
This second movement is the heart of the concerto!
It is the confession of this exquisite ensemble's truest and most secret feelings
All led by the power of Sergei Kachatryan's soul, his divine vulnerability.
All finally exploding into the orchestra's double forte recapitulation of the theme… with some small, brief return to the violin's isolation and, given the last, unresolved chord, an artist's eternal sense of incompletion.
The final movement?
My favorite corner of it is, with the orchestra's restless perfection behind him, our angelic violinist recapitulates a by-now most irresistible theme.
It is carried up in growing excitement, higher and higher emotional ranges, the theme then returns for its last time.
The orchestra pushes and pushes our soloist into an explosive denouement.
He returns to rhythmic applause from everyone including the orchestra.
The applause continues, demanding an encore!
"This is a very special year for we Armenians," announces Sergey. "It is the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide."
He then plays The Crane by Komitas.
At first in the lower register of the violin, this simple statement in the hands and soul of Sergey Kachatryan draws us in. Then, suddenly into the higher and most piercing elevations of the violin, he tears our hearts out.
Sudden and abrupt ending!
God bless Sergei Kachatryan.
Michael Moriarty is a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor who starred in the landmark television series Law and Order from 1990 to 1994. His recent film and TV credits include The Yellow Wallpaper, 12 Hours to Live, Santa Baby and Deadly Skies. Contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/@MGMoriarty.