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Rachmaninov: Corelli Variations, Etudes-Tableaux, Morceaux de Fantaisie / Arghamanyan

Release Date: 04/24/2012 
Label:  Pentatone   Catalog #: 5186399   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Nareh Arghamanyan
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Nareh Arghamanyan has developed by leaps and bounds since her 2008 Concours Musical International de Montréal victory, followed by a debut solo disc containing proficient yet overly rhapsodic performances of Liszt’s B minor and Rachmaninov’s B-flat minor sonatas. Arghamanyan’s new all-Rachmaninov recital reveals a more disciplined, controlled, architecturally aware, and expressively sophisticated artist.

The Corelli Variations benefit from the Armenian pianist’s unified tempo relationships and overall symphonic approach in terms of rhythmic discipline, intelligently scaled dynamics, and a wide range of tone colors. Notice, for example, the wonderfully unfolding continuity she
Read more achieves by linking Variations 5, 6, and 7, even though the latter seems a bit slow in relation to the composer’s Vivace directive. Conversely, Arghamanyan enlivens Variation 3’s “question and answer” dynamic contrasts with specifically characterized accelerations. Variation 8’s myriad tempo modifications, however, are Rachmaninov’s own, and Arghamanyan proportions them to utter perfection. While the scherzando Variation 10 could be communicated in a lighter, more playful manner, Variation 12’s marcato and legato contrasts truly hit home. Listen also to how Arghamanyan shapes the Intermezzo’s rhetorical phrases and virtuosic filigree more or less in tempo, yet with seemingly boundless nuance. The shorter pieces prove no less absorbing. Arghamanyan’s thoughtful textural layering of the C-sharp minor Prelude Op. 3 No. 2 amounts to a newly minted rendition of an overplayed warhorse. She markedly differentiates the B-flat minor Serenade’s expansive cantabiles and quiet stabbing chords much as the composer did in his classic 1940 recording. Each one of the Op. 33 Etudes-Tableaux fuses virtuosic refinement, textural clarity, and a gift for revealing the narrative behind the melodies that many younger pianists lack. Out of curiosity I compared Arghamanyan’s C major Op. 33 No. 2 alongside Yuja Wang’s contemporaneous DG recording, and wound up preferring Arghamanyan for her more expansive phrasing and riper sonority, helped by PentaTone’s full-bodied, lifelike multi-channel sonics. Arghamanyan’s own booklet notes discuss her responses to the music in eloquent, articulate, and refreshingly non-indulgent prose. A terrific release in every way.

-- Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com

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Works on This Recording

Variations on a theme of Corelli, Op. 42 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Nareh Arghamanyan (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1931; USA 
Morceaux de fantaisies (5), Op. 3 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Nareh Arghamanyan (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Russia 
Etudes-tableaux (9) for Piano, Op. 33 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Nareh Arghamanyan (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911; Russia 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 New talent July 12, 2016 By PAULO GALLIEZ (Rio de Janeiro, RJ) See All My Reviews "I like to listen from new talent and Nareh Arghamanyan is exactly this category. She feels Rachmaninov sensibility playing the piano." Report Abuse
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