MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around

  2022
 57,903 reviews
   and more ... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here
Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
 
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

 

paid for
advertisements

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews


TROUBADISC
Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

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


FOGHORN Classics

Alexandra-Quartet
Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews


All HDTT reviews


Clarissa Bevilacqua plays
Augusta Read Thomas

all Nimbus reviews

Brahms Dvorak
Brahms 2 Dvorak 7
all tudor reviews

 

 


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

 

Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Loughton
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom

jonathan_woolf@yahoo.co.uk


 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews


all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews


All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews

 

Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

November 2022
Bach
Bach Orchestral Suites

del Cinque
Del Cinque Cello sonatas

Fujita Mozart
Mao Fujita Mozart

Stanczyk
Stanczyk Acousmatic Music

Oropesa

October 2022

Berg Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto Elmes

DEbussy Jeux
Debussy Jeux

Romantic pioano masters
Romantic Piano Masters

The future is female - Vol 2
Volume 2 - The Dance

impromptu harp music
Complete Harp Impromptus

 


Support us financially by purchasing this from
Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978)
Piano Concerto in D flat (1936) [36:43]
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major, Op. 26 (1917-1921) [30:28]
Nareh Arghamanyan (piano)
Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin/Alain Altinoglu
rec. October 2013, Haus des Rundfunks, RBB Berlin, Germany
Reviewed as a 24/96 download from eClassical.com
Pdf booklet included
PENTATONE PTC5186510 SACD [67:17]

In the liner-notes for this release Pentatone describe the Armenian pianist Nareh Arghamanyan as ‘one of the most promising talents of her generation’. She has already recorded two albums for this label, solo pieces by Rachmaninov (PTC5186399) and the Liszt concertos. This time around she tackles Khachaturian’s rarely heard Piano Concerto and Prokofiev’s ubiquitous Third. The catalogue is bulging with recommendable versions of the latter, so it’s the former that’s likely to be of most interest to collectors.

Khachaturian’s concerto was the first of his works to do well outside the Soviet Union; some consider the RCA recording, with William Kapell and the Boston Symphony under Serge Koussevitzky, to be indispensable; made less than a decade after the concerto’s Moscow premiere in 1937 it’s now available on a Naxos Historical disc that Chris Howell reviewed in 2002. Alicia de Larrocha’s Decca recording is also highly regarded, but I'm particularly attached to Constantine Orbelian’s version, with Neeme Järvi and the Scottish National Orchestra in dangerously good form (Chandos). That said, anyone interested in this piece should hear the late Peter Katin's Everest recording with Hugo Rignold and the LSO. I have a very decent 24-bit rip from the DVD-A, but I suspect the latest Countdown re-master, available from HDtracks, will sound even better.

How does Arghamanyan fare in this concerto? She does a fair job in the first movement, although the accompaniment is somewhat cautious in character. The recording is good on detail – especially in those pellucid solo passages – but it’s rather soft-edged, and that’s not ideal in the orchestral outbursts. Also, the piano seems to lack body, and the soundstage is far too narrow for my taste. More worryingly the performance drifts into the doldrums - and stays there. I do sympathise with attempts to tone down the concerto’s gaudier elements - if, indeed, that's the intention here - but I'm not convinced the piece responds to such amelioration.

After that becalmed first movement the Andante con anima fares little better. Orbelian and Järvi make far more of the music’s underlying, almost mesmeric tread; their performance - like Katin and Rignold's - is bold and vivid where the newcomers’ is grey and rather hesitant. No, this is the kind of repertoire that needs - nay, demands - to be played for all it’s worth. It's that edge-of-the-seat approach - slightly less evident in the Orbelian/Järvi account than the wildly virtuosic Katin/Rignold one - that makes these two versions so covetable. In such company Arghamanyan and Altinoglu simply don't stand a chance, as their less than brillante finale confirms.

After that I must confess to a sense of foreboding as I approached the Prokofiev. That, too, is a work that welcomes a robust approach; listen to any of the more charismatic/dynamic pianists who have recorded the work and that becomes crystal clear. Next to them Arghamanyan and Altinoglu seem cruelly constrained. One need only compare their flaccid account of the theme and variations with, say, Michel Béroff and Kurt Masur’s living, breathing, fiercely articulated one to realise just how much is missing here. On Chandos Jean-Efflam Bavouzet and the BBC Phil under Gianandrea Noseda achieve a good balance between ebullience and inwardness. More important, the range of colour they find in this score is astonishing. Alas, those hoping for a late rally from the Pentatone partnership will be sorely disappointed.

Outclassed by the competition; look elsewhere.

Dan Morgan
twitter.com/mahlerei