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Ani Batikian | My Favourite Encores

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My Favourite Encores

by Ani Batikian

Violin virtuoso Ani Batikian and pianist Roland Roberts present an exciting recital of beautiful music for violin and piano.
Genre: Classical: Chamber Music
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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Banjo and Fiddle for Violin and Piano
2:59 $0.99
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2. Chanson D'amour for Violin and Piano
6:22 $0.99
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3. Dance for Violin and Piano, Op. 1
4:43 $0.99
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4. Introduction and Tarantella for Violin and Piano
5:03 $0.99
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5. Hebrew Melody for Violin and Piano
5:36 $0.99
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6. Lullaby for a Little Girl for Violin and Piano
3:28 $0.99
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7. 21 Hungarian Dances, WoO 1 No. 17: Andantino
4:00 $0.99
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8. The Crane for Violin and Piano
4:02 $0.99
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9. Rhapsody for Violin and Piano
11:18 $0.99
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10. Nocturne No. 20 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. Posth.
4:14 $0.99
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11. Romance in E Minor for Violin and Piano, Op. 1
4:52 $0.99
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12. Variations On Mer Hayrenik for Violin and Piano
7:35 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
CD REVIEW by Jonathan Woolf - Music Web International

My Favourite Encores

These are the self-confessed favourite encores of Armenian-born Ani Batikian, who took advanced studies in London where she worked with Hu Kun. Later still she studied with Salvatore Accardo in Cremona. Together with her husband, Roland Roberts - himself a violinist as well as conductor and pianist - she essays a 12-item programme that contains enough out-of-the-way repertoire to keep one interested.

She starts with a tried-and-tested in the shape of William Kroll’s Banjo and Fiddle, played at a good lick though perhaps wanting in a degree of witty badinage in the exchanges between the evoked instruments. Josef Suk’s Love Song is one of his piano pieces, Op.7, and a favourite of pianists - Ivan Moravec plays it beautifully and so before him did Jan Heřman - but it was arranged by Suk’s fellow Czech fiddler, the commanding virtuoso, Jaroslav Kocian, for violin and piano. In this guise it became a particular favourite of Soviet-era fiddlers - Kogan, Oistrakh and Barinova. Batikian and Roberts play with requisite warmth. Khachaturian’s early Dance was another Oistrakh favourite and this receives a particularly thoughtful, well-adjusted reading from Batikian.

It’s probably inevitable that Sarasate is here, in the shape of the Introduction and Tarantella, which receives a slightly cautious, occasionally over-metrical interpretation. She brings refinement and elegance - but not a great deal of overt expression - to Achron’s Hebrew Melody; for the last named quality you’ll need to seek out Elman, Heifetz, Hassid and Seidel. Roberts contributes a very charming welcome to his and Batikian’s first child, Lullaby for a Little Girl - a slightly filmic lullaby. They show discrimination in selecting one of the less often recorded of the Brahms Hungarian Dances and cement it via Komitas’s The Crane which is a lovely discovery - wistful, and lonely, and delightfully played.

Another rarely heard piece is Edward Bagdasarian’s Rhapsody, by some way the longest single piece in the selection and not well known in the West. Fiddlers such as Agaronyan, Tsitsikyan and Vardanyan recorded it in years past - though I’ve only ever heard Akop Vardanyan’s Melodiya LP of it - and so this is a splendid opportunity to hear it, up-to-date. Originally for violin and orchestra, and arranged for violin and piano by the composer, it’s a free-flowing affair infused with rich folkloric hues and genuinely lyrically impressive. Bit long for an encore though. It’s always good to hear the Chopin-Milstein Nocturne, as my impression is that it’s fallen out of favourthese days - more’s the pity. I could think of better things really than Elgar’s early Romanceas it’s not very distinctive, but it’s well played. We end with a nod at Batikian’s country of birth because Mer Hayrenik is its stirring National Anthem. Roberts has embraced it in a nineteenth-century style, all rather Paganinian or Lipinskian in its theme and variations. It sounds suitably virtuosic.

There are some useful, brief notes by Roberts who has been burning the midnight oil a bit too hard if he thinks Elgar took violin lessons from Albert Sammons.

This is a very nice disc, reflecting well on both musicians. It’s a good calling card for them.

Jonathan Woolf

Armenian violinist Ani Batikian entered the Yerevan State Conservatoire in Armenia at the age of 15, being one of the youngest students ever to study there and supported by a local scholarship. At the age of 20 she received a postgraduate diploma with honours.
Through the generous support of Raffy Manoukian she then received a full scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London, graduating with a DipRAM for outstanding performance and the top prize for violin. Further study took her to Cremona in Italy where she was a student of the legendary virtuoso Salvatore Accardo.
Other teachers include Henrik Smbatyan, Peter Lissauer and Hu Kun. She has also received guidance from Thomas Brandis, Tibor Varga, Pierre Amoyal, Zvi Zeitlin and Sylvia Rosenberg.
Ani has received numerous awards and prizes. As a recipient of the Dewar Award, she performed in The Dewar Arts Awards Fifth Anniversary Concert held in the Scottish Parliament. Ani has been broadcast on the BBC Scotland Radio and given concerts at such recognised venues as Edinburgh’s Usher Hall, Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre, Glenn Gould Studios in Toronto, Pollok House, Cowdray Hall, and London’s St. Martin-in-the-Fields.
She has performed as a soloist with Sinfonia Toronto, City of Oxford Orchestra, National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia, Naregatsi Baroque Orchestra, Katrineholm Symphony Orchestra in Sweden, Glasgow Chamber Orchestra and St. James’ Orchestra in the UK.
Ani has participated in “Music Alp” Festival in France, Levon Chilingirian Festival in Armenia, Schleswig-Holstein Festival in Germany and Lausanne Music Festival in Switzerland. She has performed chamber music with major musicians as Levon Chilingirian, Ida and Ani Kavafians, David Watkin as well as the famous Hebrides Ensemble.
In 2009 the Royal Scottish Academy of Music appointed Ani to act as an artistic director of the Summer Fest, whose role was to organise and involve students and professionals in a series of concerts.
Ani was also a Violin Lecturer at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama from 2007 to 2012.
Currently Ani lives in Brighton and her future plans include a number of concerts and several exciting CD projects.



Roland Roberts has enjoyed a wide-ranging career as a violinist, pianist, conductor, and composer. After initial study at the Royal Academy in London he later gained a Masters Degree in Music as a Fulbright Scholar in the USA.
Roland has broadcast and performed worldwide as a solo violinist and through the support of the British Council and others he has performed in over fifty countries including a live broadcast on Chinese television with an audience of sixty million people. CD recordings and performances with other artists range from Pavarotti to Annie Lennox and venues from The Carnegie Hall to Wembley Stadium. He has also been a member of The London Mozart Players and worked extensively with the Philharmonia Orchestra and the London Sinfonietta.
He has also directed some of the finest British ensembles including the Thames Chamber Orchestra, the Koenig Ensemble, Chamber Music Company and the City of Oxford Orchestra with whom he has been Musical Director for 15 years and has recorded Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and a CD entitled An English Elegy featuring some of his own compositions.
As a conductor he was the principal conductor of the Fulham Symphony Orchestra for 5 years during which time they performed all of the Beethoven symphonies and presented a full-scale production of Verdi’s La Traviata at the Hackney Empire in London.
For ten years Roland worked with some of the world’s leading film composers and played on many Hollywood movie soundtracks including box office hits such as The Mummy, The Phantom of the Opera, Tomb Raider and the Oscar winning, Finding Neverland. At this time he also worked as a music supervisor for Channel 4 and on the feature film, Another Life, and wrote script reports for the British Film Council.
In addition to composing and arranging music for BBC Television and film, his composition An English Elegy was chosen as ‘pick of the week’ on BBC Radio Suffolk. Commissions from The City of Oxford Orchestra include ‘Celebration Suite’ for the orchestra’s fortieth anniversary and a Concerto for violin and oboe. In December 2012 he completed the score for a new horror movie by Babaloo Films entitled Paper. Scissors. Stone.
His string quartet, the Solaris Quartet has also made several recordings including the most recent CD which featuring arrangements of the music of George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff.
In 2012 he has been recording and giving concerts with his wife, the virtuoso violinist, Ani Batikian, in his role as a pianist, and for a short time worked as a Senior Lecturer in Violin at the Royal Conservatoire, Scotland. Now living in Brighton future plans are to dedicate more time to composition and teaching.

PROGRAMME NOTES

William Kroll (1901 - 1980) was an American violinist and composer and his charming encore Banjo and Fiddle is easily his most famous work.

Chanson D’amour by the Czech composer Josef Suk was originally composed for solo piano and later arranged for violin and piano by Jaroslav Kocian. This florid and expressive music suits the expressive qualities of the violin perfectly.

Aram Khachaturian (1903 – 1978) is considered to be Armenia’s most famous composer and wrote ballets, film music and symphonies. The Dance No.1 dates from 1926 while he was still a student in Moscow at the Gnessin Institute and contains many elements of Armenian folk music.

The Introduction and Tarantella by the Spanish virtuoso violinist Pablo de Sarasate is one of his most popular show pieces. The sweet cantilena of the Introduction soon gives way to a breathtaking Tarantella full of virtuosic intensity.

Joseph Achron was a Russian composer and violinist of Jewish origin who wrote many works for the violin including 2 violin concertos. His Hebrew Melody enjoyed instant fame and recognition due to Jascha Heifetz who recorded the work and programmed it in many of his concerts.

The Lullaby For a Little Girl was written ]in anticipation of the arrival our first child, Carine, who was born in May 2013. An opening modal theme played on the violin is accompanied by a gentle rocking piano accompaniment followed by a flowing middle section. A short violin cadenza leads into the return of the main theme, this time later played by both instruments with the violin using harmonics.

Johannes Brahms originally wrote his set of 21 Hungarian Dances in 1869 for piano duet but they have been since arranged for many different instruments. The arrangement here is by the Viennese violinist Fritz Kreisler.

Komitas, (Komitas Vardapet) is a well-known figure in Armenian music and considered to be the father of Armenian classical music. From 1899 he travelled extensively around Armenia collecting and recording folk music, eventually publishing some 3000 songs.
The Crane is one of the folk songs arranged for violin and piano. The poignant words to the song are “Oh crane, where do you come from? / I am a slave to your voice / Oh crane, don’t you have news from our homeland?”

Edward Bagdasarian (1922 – 1987) like his Armenian counterpart Khachaturian, incorporated elements of folk music into European Classical structures. The Rhapsody was originally written for violin and orchestra and then later arranged for violin and piano by the composer.

Several of Chopin’s Nocturnes have been arranged for violin and piano. This beautiful arrangement of the posthumous C sharp minor Nocturne is by the Russian violinist Nathan Milstein.

Edward Elgar was an accomplished violinist in his youth and took lessons with the leading English virtuoso of the time, Albert Sammons. Composed in 1878 the Romance in E minor was his first published work, his opus 1.

Mer Hayrenik is the theme of the Armenian National Anthem. The song lends itself well to a set of virtuoso variations for violin and piano which I composed in the nineteenth century virtuoso style. An opening solo cadenza is followed by a statement of the main theme, first played simply, then repeated in a heroic fashion. Four virtuoso variations follow, then another short cadenza, and to finish, a jaunty Polka-esque Finale.

Notes by Roland Roberts
©Roland Roberts 2013

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