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Lawrence Hansen
American Record Guide, November 2016

We tend to think of Khachaturian as a purveyor of music bolstered by lively, Armenian-tinged themes, but this is pure music, and the composer has the chops to pull it off. Just as important, the RPO and conductor Yablonsky deliver an interpretation that’s thrilling, moving, powerful, and thoroughly engrossing. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Hi Fi Review (Hong Kong), October 2016

An expert interpretation of the music, particularly with the Second Symphony, which sounds gloomy, chilling and just right. Good performance… © 2016 Hi Fi Review (Hong Kong), September 2016

The Symphony No. 2 in A minor is one of Khachaturian’s best-known works. Completed in 1944, it was nicknamed The Bell or Symphony with Bells after tubular bell motif that begins and ends the piece. Written during the height of the Second World War, this symphony illustrates the pain that humanity, and the composer himself, felt at the time. He described it as ‘a requiem of wrath, a requiem of protest against war and violence.’ …On this recording, Dmitry Yablonsky conducts the excellent Russian Philharmonic Orchestra in Khachaturian’s ‘Symphony with a Bell’ and excerpts from the Lermontov Suite. © 2016 Read complete review

Steven Kruger
Fanfare, September 2016

Yablonsky at first seems to understate things. The “Symphony of the Bell” doesn’t make your teeth jangle as it opens, the way that Järvi’s does. …Instead, we encounter a seriousness of purpose familiar in good performances of Shostakovich—a sort of grim inevitability. Rather than a colorful mosaic, we now get an intense, less voluptuous experience. Yablonsky is just enough faster to keep things from getting sensual. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, June 2016

…a completely satisfying work, an extroverted dirge that cries out in protest with the full resources of the modern orchestra.

Russian modern aficionados will doubtless want to savor this fine recording of a somewhat neglected symphony. It is very worthwhile. Kudos to Yablonsky and the Russian Philharmonic. © 2016 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

Michael Wilkinson
MusicWeb International, May 2016

The pieces from the Lermontov Suite are undemanding but delightful. I particularly enjoyed the performance of the Mazurka, but all are pleasing.

…a worthwhile disc, one which will give pleasure to anyone who enjoys Khachaturian in different moods. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Raymond J Walker
MusicWeb International, May 2016

This music could not have been easy for either the orchestra or conductor to master since each orchestral section seems to play the staves in isolation from its neighbouring section. It is telling that the recording took five days to complete, clearly a vast investment of time and expense.

Naxos has to be congratulated for supporting this difficult work… © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2016

Though his name is familiar and often appears in the concert hall, we have a very limited view of Khachaturian’s large output, his three symphonies seldom played. To some extent that is due to his acquiescence to the diktats of the Communist regime that demanded populist works that would keep him in favour, and in Western eyes did little to further the work of dissidents headed by Shostakovich. The Second Symphony is an abstract work from 1943, its title, The Bell, coming from the use of three tubular bells at crucial junctures. It was, the composer wrote, ‘A requiem of wrath. A requiem of protest against war and violence’. Without the obvious venom of Shostakovich’s Eighth, written at almost the same time, it is a forceful and, at times, noisy score in four movements, though it is dominated by quiet passages in the opening Andante maestoso. The scherzo second movement even sounds jolly, and only when we reach the death march of the following Andante sostenuto does the music spell out his description of a requiem in its anguished climax. The finale is expressed in primary colours with thematic material reminiscent of the ballet, Spartacus. Lasting around fifty minutes, there is room to add three sections from the incidental music to Boris Levrenyov’s play, Lermontov—an Introduction, Mazurka and Waltz—and the type of music in which Khachaturian excelled. Good performances from the Russian Philharmonic conducted by Dmitry Yablonsky, the market far from offering many alternatives. The recording gets a bit congested in the symphony’s massive outbursts, but that also defeated other releases. © 2016 David’s Review Corner

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