PIANIST NAREH ARGHAMANIAN IN CONCERT Armenian News Network / Groong Entertainment Wire November 24, 2009 by Sahan Arzruni NEW YORK, NEW YORK Pianist Nareh Arghamanian presented a wonderfully convincing performance at the Frick Collection in New York City on Sunday, November 22, 2009. In her debut recital, the winner of the prestigious 2008 Montreal International Music Competition offered an emotionally energized, spiritually exhilarated and intellectually engagi program. Arghamanian performed four large-scale staples of the standard repertoire. The most impressive performance of the late-afternoon concert was arguably Liszt's Ballade No. 2 in B minor, a thrilling work inspired by the good-versus-evil scenario of B|rger's Lenore. Amid its depictions of titanic struggles and a demand for virtuosic fireworks, the composition is shaped by glorious, vocally inspired melodies. With utter nonchalance, Ms. Arghamanian sailed through this technical obstacle course, and revealed a compelling ardor in her expression of the Ballade's soaring lines. The four movements of Schumann's Humoreske in B-flat major - considered one of the composer's most significant achievements - are meant to convey a mood of whimsy or caprice, rather than humor. Happily, Ms. Arghamanian's seamless narrative held firm the composition's shifting moods - reflective, coy, melancholic, agitated, jovial and heroic - while managing to fully express its essential jocundity and jocularity. Ms. Arghamanian opened the program with Bach's Partita No. 3 in A minor, which consists of a series of formal dance movements. She showed her total control and confidence of the keyboard from the initial measures, defining clearly the work's contrapuntal texture. Her articulation and ornamentation, which were rooted in the 17th-century performance practices, held persuasively against the reality of playing on a modern Steinway. Almost always challenging Sonata No. 31 in A-flat major by Beethoven proved to be problematic for this highly gifted young pianist as well. The artful simplicity of the first movement followed by the rogue humor of the scherzo, the doleful meditation of the recitative and, lastly, the restive ambiguity of the fugue have proven a daunting task to many seasoned instrumentalists. Ms. Arghamanian's version, which lacked an integral approach to the completeness of this highly compact but starkly satiated work, wanted for a deeper sense of formal balance, tonal beauty, narrative discourse and introspection. Three showy encores concluded the program: Moskowsky's Etincelles, Volodos's arrangement of Mozart's Rondo Alla Turca and Khachaturian's Sabre Dance. At this stage of her development - she is only twenty years old - Ms. Arghamanian's playing is infused with romantic yearning and bravura technique. But her musical path is open to wondrous achievements in the future - which we will await with eager anticipation. -- Master pianist Sahan Arzruni enjoys an international career, and is also known as a composer, ethnomusicologist, producer, teacher, lecturer, writer, recording artist and broadcasting personality.
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