What? Two Khachaturian concerti? Didn't he just write one, the big one in D Minor, the one recorded so beautifully by Oistrakh (its dedicatee) and Kogan? Well, yes. But he also wrote a one-movement folk-inflected Concerto-Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra that lasts almost thirty minutes. And as far as I know they have never been presented on the same CD before. [This Concerto-Rhapsody is not to be confused with the one for cello and orchestra recorded so spectacularly by Mstislav Rostropovich some years ago. There is a third Concerto-Rhapsody for piano and orchestra that I've never heard, although I notice that it, too, is recorded on Naxos and coupled with Khachaturian's once very popular piano concerto.]
There was a time when Khachaturian's violin concerto was played a lot. I suppose it's a bit vulgar and glitzy, but it's a real crowd pleaser that never fails. And I admit I love it. It seems to me I heard it just about every couple of years in concert. But it's been quite a while since I've heard it live. Probably the best-known recording is that by David Oistrakh; he recorded it several times but the one I know and love the first one, from 1944, on Pearl. The sound on that disc is pretty dated. Leonid Kogan made a dynamic version in the 1950s as did Aaron Rosand some year later. Mihaela Martin, a Romanian violinist, takes a somewhat less brash approach to the concerto, especially in the second movement, And she sticks to Khachaturian's own first-movement cadenza, not the flashier one written by Oistrakh. Her orchestral accompaniment by the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine under American conductor Theodore Kuchar is first-rate and in sparkling sound.
The Concerto-Rhapsody was written for Leonid Kogan in 1961. As the name implies, it is more rhapsodic than the concerto and after the candenza-like violin entrance it takes on an Armenian folk coloration. The soaring main theme doesn't arrive until midway and it then pretty much dominates from then on.
It's nice to have both pieces on the same disc. And these are very good performances in modern sound. And then there's the budget price.