Rachmaninov: Morceaux de Fantasie etc – review

Nareh Arghamanyan (Pentatone)

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.

Contributor

Andrew Clements

The GuardianTramp

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