One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,514 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                     Editor in Chief: John Quinn              

Some items
to consider


paid for


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

Deaconoff; Stockhausen

Live at the Clifton Festival

Choir at Clifton Cathedral


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Plain text for smartphones & printers

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience


Symphonies 1, 2, 3



Aho Symphony 5

Dowland - A Fancy


Rachmaninov_ Babayan


Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Eduard Aslanovich ABRAMIAN (1923-1986)
Twenty-Four Preludes for Piano
Mikael Ayrapetyan (piano)
rec. Grand Concert Hall of Moscow State University of Culture and Arts, Moscow, Russia, 27-28 January 2012.
World premiŤre recording
GRAND PIANO GP 665 [60:37]

Grand Pianoís declared aim is to record the piano music of a whole host of less well known or completely unknown composers. This release is adequate proof of the fine job they are making of it for we have Armenian composer Eduard Abramianís 24 preludes which have never before been recorded. It is the third disc of Armenian composers from Grand Piano that has come my way in the last few weeks following those of Babadjanian and Bagdasarian). This certainly shows the label's commitment to the project. What is particularly pleasing is that it opens up music from Armenia and shows that there is lot more to it than we had previously thought when the only names we knew representing that country were Khachaturian and Arutiunian or Alan Hovhaness the Armenian-American composer.

It seems that Abramianís total output was relatively small and that the piano dominates which is hardly surprising when you learn that he was a formidable pianist which is attested to by these preludes. The booklet notes point out that in fact these preludes explore all the keys bar two since two are repeated, an interesting fact but one that certainly does not detract from what is a set of the most appealing piano music. As an active member of the Armenian Composerís Union he participated in meetings all over the country which enabled him to become familiar with the traditional music of every region. These 'voices' he incorporated into his own. Indeed you only have to be able to recognise the Armenian flavour in music to hear it in each and every piece here. There is no doubt that it adds to their intrinsic attraction. However, there is never a sense that Abramian is wallowing in nostalgia in these pieces but simply that native Armenian folk music is a rich vein to be mined in the creation of original material.

As the late Malcolm MacDonald rightly says in his notes it is difficult to pick out highlights from such a ďrichly-woven musical tapestryĒ though he does select six for special mention. Any would do to emphasise Abramianís easy facility to write a good tune. All of them are straightforward and honest with a beguiling simplicity and without any sort of artifice. I found no.3 a particularly good representative of Armenian traditional dance while no.4, which he dedicated to his mother, is an extremely affecting and emotional piece better able to express love than words could ever do. Shades of Rachmaninov are to be discerned when Abramian sounds Ďromanticí as he does in nos. 5, 6 and 13 but one has the impression that he does not often expressly set out to be romantic in that way. His no.21 is a much faster piece, full of high octane interest as is his rhythmically complex no.23. Every note in each prelude is genuinely felt and honestly expressed. I found the disc an absolute pleasure and a joy to listen to from beginning to end.

How much more music by Abramian remains to be discovered? I donít know but these lovely preludes are a brilliant introduction and any lover of piano music will find this CD a thoroughly rewarding experience. Mikael Ayrapetyan plays all of it with due reverence for his compatriotís music as he did with Bagdasarianís set of 24.

Steve Arloff