Archived Program Notes
March 10, 2010 Program Details
Bio of NAREH ARGHAMANYAN
Concluding the bios of this season's performers is Nareh Arghamanyan, winner of the 2008 Montreal International Music Competition. She makes her New York debut in the fall of 2009 at the Frick Collection in New York City. Other appearances in the 2009-10 season include recitals in San Francisco, Miami, Detroit. Minneapolis, Kansas City, Kalamazoo, San Juan and Fresno, among others. She also performs the Saint-Saens 5th Concerto with the Winnipeg Symphony, the Saint-Saens 2nd and Mozart Double Concertos with I Musici de Montreal, and the "Emperor" Concerto with the McGill Chamber Orchestra. This past summer, Ms. Arghamanyan attended the prestigious Marlboro Festival and gave recitals in Quebec at Domaine Forget, the Festival International de Lanaudiere in Joliet, Canada, and at the Mecklenburg Festival in Germany. Most recently, the Analekta label released her recording of the Rachmaninoff 2nd Sonata and Liszt B minor Sonata to great acclaim. La Scena Musicale wrote: "Arghamanyan meets the daunting demands of these two ultra-Romantic pieces with a combination of technical bravura, singing tone, and poetic expression - the Liszt is particularly memorable."
In addition to capturing the First Prize in Montreal", she also received the Audience Choice Award and a special award for the best interpretation of a work by Canadian composer Alexina Louie. Ms. Arghamanyan has been the First Prize recipient at the 2007 Piano Campus International Competition in Pontoise, France, and took second prize at the 2007 Jose Roca International Competition in Valencia, Spain. In 2005 she won the Josef Dichler Piano Competition in Vienna, and the following year was awarded a scholarship from the Herbert von Karajan Foundation. Nareh Arghamanyan's first major recognition came at the coveted Gina Bachauer International Junior Piano Competition in Salt Lake City in 2000 where, at the age of 11, she was the Second Prize winner.
Previously, she had been the recipient of the First Prize at the 1997 International Chopin Piano Competition m Yugoslavia, First Prize at the 1998 International Competition for Young Talents in Ukraine, and Gold Medal winner at the 1999 Armenian Legacy National Piano Competition in the juniors' category.
The outstanding bios of our artists show the talent that they represent.
Among the bios presented here, Ms. Arghamanyan has appeared at many festivals internationally including the Colmar Festival in France at the invitation of violinist Vladimir Spivakov, and a recital at Palais d'Athenee in Geneva, Switzerland. In 2006 she appeared on the Chamber Music San Francisco Music Series under the auspices of the Guzik Foundation, and in 2004 was soloist with the Mont Blanc Symphony (France) in the Grieg Piano Concerto. She has performed recitals in many U.S. cities including Los Angeles, Boston, and Washington, DC, and has appeared with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, the Armenian Philharmonic, and the National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia.
Born in 1989 in Armenia. Nareh Arghamanyan began her piano studies at the age of five. Three years later, she . entered the Tchaikovsky Music School for Talented Children in Yerevan, where she studied with Alexander Gurgenov. In 2004 she was the youngest student to be admitted to the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, where she studied with Hein/: Medjimorec and graduated in 2008 with highest honors.
Going on from bios of our concert artists we present bios of composers who wrote the pieces our performers will present.
Humoreske, Op. 20
A composer whose works include novelettes and fairytales, Schumann likewise went to a literary genre in titling this big piece he completed in March 1839. The prose "humoresque"?in German, Humoreske?was a story illustrating one or more of the recurrent humors, or character types, that people liked to find in human nature. Humor, in the more ordinary sense, was a common feature, and Schumann's example certainly has a dash of it, along with sweetness, ardor, and a great deal of ebullience, all of which he seems to have felt while at work. As he wrote at the time to Clara, back in Leipzig with her father while he was in Vienna: "The whole week I have been sitting at the piano and composing and writing and laughing and crying at the same time, as you will now find all beautifully illustrated in my Op. 20, this large-scale Humoreske."
The composition does indeed show Schumann a master of mixed feelings, as also of harmonic ambiguities and simultaneous speeds. Like the better-known Fantasy in C Major that came shortly before, the Humoreske is a work of sonata-style weight and variety. Of the four main movements, the third is slow and, like its two predecessors, in clear ternary form, whereas the finale is a more various succession of episodes. The simple tune at the start of the piece returns at the end of the first movement (where much of the comedy is to be found) and appears again, reduced to a sequence of chords, in the middle part of the second. At the opening of this movement, alongside the melody in the bass, Schumann wrote out an "inner voice," not meant to be played but only imagined by the performer (or listener), a melody quoted from a composition of Clara's. The slow movement is based on another gorgeous tune, and the finale proceeds with immense power.
By the end, the Humoreske has told a musical narrative of great subtlety and scope. The story may be partly the composer's, from a time of enforced separation from Clara, but music's advantage is that it defines no subject and has no narrator. It just is.
Continuing with bios of Scarlatti and Rachmaninoff you can see that their musical abilities were profound.
Three Sonatas: D minor, K. 9 (L.413)
D minor, K. 213 (L. 108)
D minor, K. 141 (L. 422)
Domenico Scarlatti grew up in the shadow of his famous father, the premiere opera composer of the day, and while the boy showed extraordinary talent for the keyboard, his creative gifts did not seem to be of the same order. In adulthood, he proved at first to be nothing more than a dependably skilled but thoroughly conventional church and theater composer. In 1720 or 1721 however, Scarlatti became Royal Music Master at Lisbon, where his chief duty was to provide challenging keyboard music for the gifted Princess Maria Barbara. Eventually Scarlatti wrote over 500 sonatas for his patroness, and in this genre, found and continued to develop the free-wheeling, scintillating style for which he is now noted - a style marked by narrative paradox, dancelike energy, and exotic instrumental coloring.
And the composers' bios continue.
Etudes tableaux, Op. 33
The last of the great 19th century pianist-composers and the first of the modern school of piano-playing,, Rachmaninoff held aristocratic disdain for technical difficulty at the keyboard. Full-blooded Russian sonority was there. But also was refined legato playing, rhythmic buoyancy and drive, a composer's ability to structure the music and an uncanny knack of getting right to the heart of the poetry. Rachmaninoff thrived on his concert giving. Countless concert tours across the U.S. bought him a house in Beverly Hills.
The music, however, did not come without a struggle. At home, in Russia, the first 26 years of Rachmaninoff s career saw 39 publications. The next 26 years of exile resulted in just six more. It was in pre-Revolutionary Russia that Rachmaninoff composed all his operas and songs, three of the four piano concertos, two of the three symphonies, and two sets of demanding piano pieces that essentially close the book on the great 19l century tradition of virtuoso etudes. He called them Etudes-tableaux, or Study-Pictures, inventing the term to describe these short, technically complex pieces that explore a mood or tell a story. He gave little away by way of explanation however; preferring to follow Chopin's lead in the four Ballades of leaving it to the listener's imagination to fill in the specifics of the narrative.
The Opus 33 etudes were originally meant to comprise nine etudes when Rachmaninoff wrote them. The composer decided to publish only six of them in 1911. Numbers 3 and 5 were published posthumously and are often inserted among the six etudes: number four was transferred to Op. 39, where it appears as No. 6 of that set.
D minor, K.9 (L.413) D minor, K. 213 (L. 108) D minor, K. 141 (L. 422)
Humoreske in B-flat Major, Op 20 Einfach; sehr rasch und leicht
Hastig Einfach und zart; Intermezzo Innig Sehr lebharft; mit einigen Pomp Zum Beschluss; Allegro
Etudes tableaux, Op. 33
These above bios brought the performing musicians and composers to the forefront of many other musician's bios with their testimonials so that we could bring them to Cincinnati to perform.