Andrew Clements 

Rachmaninov: Morceaux de Fantasie etc – review

This collection confirms that Arghamanyan has a remarkable technique, but suggests that musically she is not the finished article, writes Andrew Clements
  
  

Armenian born Nareh Arghamanyan is still in her early 20s, but her first place in the 2008 Montreal piano competition is the most prestigious in a whole sheaf of awards that she has picked up over the last decade. This Rachmaninov collection certainly confirms that Arghamanyan has a remarkable technique, but also suggests that musically she is not the finished article yet. Her selection encompasses virtually all of Rachmaninov's composing career, from his Op 3 (the Morceaux de Fantasie, which include his best known solo-piano piece, the C sharp minor Prelude) to the Variations on a Theme of Corelli Op 42, of 1931. It's a daunting series of pieces that she confronts head on, swaddling the pieces in rich, warm tone, but after a while the sheer unremitting intensity of her playing, and its rather limited range of colourand dynamics , begin to wear. You long for some genuinely quiet playing, and for Arghamanyan to ration her use of the sustaining pedal more carefully. It tries just a bit too hard to impress.

 

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