Armenian News Network / Groong



Armenian News Network / Groong

Entertainment Wire
November 24, 2009
by Sahan Arzruni


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

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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