Monday 23 February 2015

BBC Music Magazine's Review for the Aram Khachaturian/Serge Prokofieff release with Nareh Arghamanyan



"Arghamanyan's reflective approach pays off in her rapt performance of the slow movement: Khachaturian's detailed and evocative orchestration blossoms in the vivid SACD sound, as does the expressive beauty of his spicily harmonised melodies"

We are thrilled to have another great media coverage for our 'Serge Prokofiev and Aram Khachaturian-Piano Concertos' release with Nareh Arghamanyan and Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin led by Alain Altinoglu. Below is the review published on the March issue of BBC Music Magazine by  Daniel Jaffé:

Nareh Arghamanyan is not the first Armenian to offer a more thoughtful approach to Khachaturian’s music than the usual fireworks display. The result, though, is all the more striking in this, the first and fieriest of his concertos. The opening maestoso direction is given its due, and there’s time to appreciate the rich abundance of Khachaturian’s thematic material in that first movement, with Arghamanyan’s playing matched by polished and responsive playing by the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra.

That said, although virtuosic passages are played with drive and immaculate technique, it all feels a touch over-refined – too artful for this tribute to Caucasian street music, let alone the excitement Khachaturian surely intended in this Liszt-style showpiece. I would also have welcomed more razzmatazz in the finale’s outer section, performed here with the kind of humourless earnestness once associated (mistakenly) with Shostakovich. Still, Arghamanyan’s reflective approach pays off in her rapt performance of the slow movement: Khachaturian’s detailed and evocative orchestration blossoms in the vivid SACD sound, as does the expressive beauty of his spicily harmonised melodies (though the musical saw used here hardly improves on the score’s specified flexatone).

There are already many recommendable recordings of Prokofiev’s most popular piano concerto, but Arghamanyan’s characterful yet non-idiosyncratic reading may be enthusiastically endorsed. She captures that protean work’s playful classicism and it’s mournful ruminative side, while compellingly demonstrating its masterly construction and making one realise – like the Khachaturian – how densely populated that work is with striking themes.

 Daniel Jaffé