21-year-old pianist shows mature, magnificent artistry

By Alan Becker

Pianist Nareh Arghamanyan made a sensational local debut Tuesday night for Friends of Chamber Music.

Nareh Arghamanyan is not a name familiar to most concertgoers, but just wait. The 21-year-old Armenian pianist has garnered many impressive awards and recognitions. They include the Gina Bachauer international Junior Piano Competition, the 1997 International Chopin Competition  in Yugoslavia, and the 2008 Montreal International Musical Competition. In 2004 she was the youngest student admitted to the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna and graduated in 2008 with highest honors.

From what was heard Tuesday night at the University of Miami’s Gusman Concert Hall, Julian Kreeger and Friends of Chamber Music of Miami deserve our gratitude for bringing this exceptional artist to the Miami audience, since this young pianist demonstrated talent and musicianship of the highest order.

Arghamanyan opened with three of Domenico Scarlatti’s sonatas, all in D minor. They formed a most satisfying triptych and the playing ranged from the most refined tones, barely sounding forth, to the electricity of rapid passagework with lightning repeated notes to take one’s breath away.

This refinement was matched in Schumann’s rarely played Humoresque, in which the composer puts his two personalities—-Florestan and Eusebius—clearly on display in six sharply contrasting sections. The contrasts between Schumann’s passionate and introspective side were manifest in this performance, realized to the fullest in Arghamanyan’s supple yearning, and powerful fleet-fingered technique. It was a remarkable achievement, and further pointed out what a first-rate work Schumann has given us.

Franz Liszt’s Ballade No. 2 dates from 1853 and is a substantial work that tells the adventure of a melody, much as the composer has done in his Piano Concerto No. 2. It is chock full of Lisztian rhetoric, but the melody itself has a gentle character in most all of its variations. Once again this young aritist was able to encapsulate all of its moods and passions with great feeling and depth.

After the preceding challenges, taking on Rachmaninoff’s knuckle-busting Etudes-tableaux, Op. 33 would almost seem to be a cruel and merciless challenge. Needless to say Arghamanyan was well-suited temperamentally to this music, and gave us performances of great passion, rhythmically stunning contrasts, and great beauty in all of Rachmaninoff’s yearning vocalise-like lines. This reviewer would be hard pressed to recall another performance of the set quite as outstanding as this one.

Posted in Performances

Leave a Comment

Wed Mar 24, 2010
at 1:36 pm
No Comments