Arghamanyan brings something new to this work, for there is care and detail and sensitivity here which I have not heard before and it is achieved without any loss of tempo. This performances are captured in immaculate SACD sound, with ideal balance between soloist and orchestra. Arghamanyan is one to watch, and I hope we hear more from this remarkable partnership.
International Record Review,Nicholas Salwey, February 2015
Nareh Arghamanyan has come up with a refreshingly individual take on the piece, soft-grained, spacious and full of color. Whether self-consciously bubbly or dreamily withdrawn, Arghamanyan’s pointing of line is intensely individual, always super articulate and withouth percussiveness.
Gramophone, February 2015
I can’t recall a recording that reveals so much subtle detail in Prokofiev’s orchestral writing and needless to say PENTATONE’s sound quality is beyond reproach. Those seeking this release for the Khachaturian Piano Concerto need not hesitate.
SA-CD Net Graham Williams, December 2014
The Khachaturian Piano Concerto fares better, especially in the cadenzas, where the pianist delivers very sensitive and insightful interpretations. The very first cadenza in the first movement is played with haunting and subtle tones, for once making this music sound colorful and quite arresting. The second cadenza is thrilling and energetic early on and very dramatic, almost sinister in its deft phrasing in the latter half. The second movement is paced just about perfectly and its exoticisms emerge so subtly, both from the pianist and orchestra. The flexatone is replaced by a musical saw in this performance and it is mixed into the sound fabric in proper proportion, not overwhelmingly as in several other recordings that employ a flexatone. When the main theme comes back at the climax, it is played by pianist and orchestra with energy and a sense of both triumph and celebration. The finale has a subtle, sort of playful quality, thanks to the pianist’s often bouncy, staccato-like style. This is the hardest movement to bring off owing to the music’s threadbare character: there’s not much substance to the main theme really – a sort of spastic rhythmic morsel that expands upward briefly and then downward. And too, the finale’s ending is rather bombastic. The cadenza – again played imaginatively here – may be the movement’s strongest point. This is an excellent performance of the Khachaturian that can stand with the finest competition, which includes versions by Antonín Jemelik, Mindru Katz, Dickran Atamian and Constantine Orbelian. In both concertos Alain Altinoglu draws fine performances from the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin.
Robert Cummings, classical Net ,2014
Nareh Arghamanyan is not the first Armenian to offer a more thoughtful approach to Khachaturian’s music than the usual fireworks display. The result, though, is all the more striking in this, the first and fieriest of his concertos. The opening maestoso direction is given its due, and there’s time to appreciate the rich abundance of Khachaturian’s thematic material in that first movement, with Arghamanyan’s playing matched by polished and responsive playing by the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra.
That said, although virtuosic passages are played with drive and immaculate technique, it all feels a touch over-refined – too artful for this tribute to Caucasian street music, let alone the excitement Khachaturian surely intended in this Liszt-style showpiece. I would also have welcomed more razzmatazz in the finale’s outer sections, performed here with the kind of humourless earnestness once associated (mistakenly) with Shostakovich. Still, Arghamanyan’s reflective approach pays off in her rapt performance of the slow movement: Khachaturian’s detailed and evocative orchestration blossoms in the vivid SACD sound, as does the expressive beauty of his spicily harmonised melodies (though the musical saw used here hardly improves on the score’s specified flexatone).
There are already many recommendable recordings of Prokofiev’s most popular piano concerto, but Arghamanyan’s characterful yet non-idiosyncratic reading may be enthusiastically endorsed. She captures that protean work’s playful classicism and its mournful ruminative side, while compellingly demonstrating its masterly construction and making one realise – like the Khachaturian – how densely populated that work is with striking themes.
Daniel Jaffe, BBC music magazine 2014
Bei Tschaikowskis „Dumka“ und zwei Sätzen aus Rachmaninows Fantasiestücken […] siegten die gestaltenden Kräfte Arghamnyans über ihre frappierende Technik. Bei Balakirews „Islamey“ bot sie ein irrsinniges Tempo auf.“
Rheinische Post, Norbert Laufer, 11.05.15
„Die Virtuosität, mit der die junge Künstlerin die herkulischen pianistischen Anforderungen meistert, ist jedenfalls beeindruckend.“
Die Presse, Wilhelm Sinkovicz, 13.12.2014
„Meisterduo: Hyeyoon Park und Nareh Arghamanyan knüpften da an, wo vor drei Wochen Ning Feng und Igor Levit aufgehört hatten: an einem konfrontativen und fesselnden Musizieren.“
Main Post, Thomas Ahnert, 8.7.2014
„Das kompromisslose Perpetuum mobile wurde in einer enormen Konzentrationsleistung von Hyeyoon Park und Nareh Arghamanyan zu einem atemlosen Finale.“
Main Post, Thomas Ahnert, 8.7.2014
„Nach der Pause Rachmaninoffs «La follia»-Variationen. Arghamanyan machte die 20 Veränderungen zum Höhepunkt ihres Rezitals, denn jetzt war all das da, was ihr Spiel auszeichnet: zarte Melancholie, tänzerische Leichtigkeit, ungekünstelte Dramatik, beseligende Ruhe, eruptive Extrovertiertheit und glaubhaftes Zurückfinden in die Stille des Abschieds. Wunderbar gespielt!“
Basellandschaftliche Zeitung, Nikolaus Cybinski, 16.04.12
“She realizes the skilful phrasing and changes with a fine sense for legato and finds unique shades for every single variation. Nareh Arghamanyan shows with this CD that she is wonderful pianist whose career is worth looking out for”.
Piano News, July 2012
„ La lauréate du Concours international de Montréal 2008 a fait une rencontre qui risque de déclencher beaucoup de choses: celle du producteur des disques PentaTone, qui lui offre une vitrine et un cadre technique de rêve (piano et prise de son) pour ce disque Rachmaninov fiévreux et implacable, d’une émouvante beauté.“
Le Devoir, 24 December 2012,” „Les dix meilleurs disques classiques de 2012”
“Nareh Arghamanyan is an up-and-coming Armenian pianist who is featured on a PentaTone Classics CD, titled simply “Franz Liszt, The 2 Piano Concertos.” Actually, it also includes the composer’s “Totendanz” (a paraphrase on the medieval “Dies irae”) and his “Fantasy on Hungarian Folk Tunes.”She is accompanied by the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchestre Berlin, conducted by Alain Altinoglu.
The “Piano Concerto No. 1” has long been one of my favorites and any orchestral format of Hungarian folk music is my cup of tea. I would say that the four selections found here are a good introduction to Liszt in his various moods for those unfamiliar with his works.
I do, however, welcome this introduction to an artist who might become a great one.”
Sentenelsource.com- December 13, 2012
“Already the first bars of the Elegie from Morceaux op. 3, with their pastose legato, create a dense, melancholy atmosphere that is rarely heard these days; and no later than the following, dramatically and highly differentiated played c sharp minor Prelude, it becomes obvious that Nareh Arghamanyan is an excellent interpreter of Rachmaninov’s music.”
Fonoforum, August 2012
»It worked organically [Fantasiestücke op. 12], just in the way Schumann wanted Florestan and Eusebius to represent the dual nature of one personality, not opposing forces. A gentle slow movement, Warum? – the essence of introspection – was sketched out beautifully,especially in the barely audible recurring left-hand arpeggio.«
Keith Powers, Boston Classical Review, 22/10/2012
“The Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Opus 42, told us more about Arghamanyan than any other piece on the program (which also included a wonderfully detailed account of Bach’s Partita in C Minor, BWV 826). You could almost hear a cimbalom in the handling of a variation with Hungarian harmonies. Her extreme sensitivity to subtle voicings came through in Rachmaninoff’s Elégie.”
Philadelphia Inquirer, Peter Dobrin, 26.10.12
“It’s encouraging to hear a young pianist who plays with a distinctive personality and technique to burn, handles soft lyrical passages, and has an intuitive feel for flexibility and rubato playing that suggest that Romantic piano playing may not yet be dead.”
Boston Musical Intelligencer, James C.S. Liu, 22.10.12
»She realises the skilful phrasing and changes with a fine sense for legato and finds unique shades for every single variation. Nareh Arghamanyan shows with this CD that she is wonderful pianist whose career is worth looking out for.«
Carsten Dürer, Piano News, July 2012
“… her stylistic approach in Mozart valued clarity of articulation, a firm tone and emotional restraint. As a result, her reading gathered cumulative power and an even deeper emotional resonance. She was especially moving in the pensive second movement Romance.”
Los Angeles Times, Rick Schultz, 1.04.12
“Arghamanyan’s utter confidence in her technique allowed the work to bloom fully, and it was unquestionably the most thrilling and fluid Islamey I’ve ever heard played live.”
San Francisco Classical Voice, Ken Isaka, 28.03.12
„Nareh Arghamanyan war ein wahrer Wirbelwind an Kraft und Temperament, wundervoll entfaltete sie die Poesie des zweiten Satzes [Tschaikowsky Klavierkonzert Nr. 1], atemberaubend gelang im Kontrast dazu der nur so dahinrasende Prestissimo-Teil mit seiner eigentümlichen Abstraktheit.“
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Joachim Wormsbächer, 13.12.11
„Eine große Zukunft vor sich hat zweifellos Nareh Arghamanyan, die Mozarts 20. Klavierkonzert interpretierte.“
“’Her technique was exhilarating. But it wasn’t only the virtuosity that elated the audience. Her shaping of spherical and oriental passages was full of charm. She seemed entirely interwoven with this magnificent work.” [Saint-Saëns piano concerto Nr. 5].“
Baden Online, Gunter Thiel, 8.11.11
“Nareh Arghamanyan impressed with wonderfully sparkling articulation, imaginative dynamic shaping and a convincing dialogue between bass and melody. Her talent to shape different characters became obvious in Schumann’s “Carneval”. […] Arghamanyan played all the characters with utmost refinement against each other and ended the cycle in a sparkling firework.”
Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Thomas Schacher, 27.10.11
“Bach’s a-moll partita was absolutely powerful. Nareh Arghamanyan is aware of the existence of different Bach’s: Gould-Bach, Schiff-Bach, Brendel-Bach, Sokolov-Bach. And maybe there will be Arghamanyan-Bach pretty soon. Her left hand can sing, speak, talk and even coquette with the voices of the right hand. This is rare and precious. The Armenian is already a master of the soulful polyphony.
Die Rheinpfalz, Gerd Kowa, 18.10.11
“At the beginning, Bach’s A minor partita impressed with subtle phrasing, perfectly adapted to the modern piano. The opening Fantasia was full of dance with vividly phrased voicing and without any prudery. Singing in the melody was Nareh Arghamanyan’s most important principle.”
Hannoversche Allgemeine, Ludolf Baucke, 13.10.11
“Arghamanyan’s playing is compulsive, emotional yet remarkably “complete” for such a young musician – sensitive, unaffected, genuine.”
The Independent, Jessica Duchen, 14.01.11
Another potential superstar has arrived
»“Elegance, humour, deliciously burbling trills and fiery imagination. This introduced me to a major, major, major talent. … Pianists don’t come any better than Nareh Arghamanyan. Another potential superstar has arrived! I discovered that virtually every pianophile in New York had heard the ‘buzz’. Add my name to her snowballing list of admirers. This was one of the most remarkable concerts I have heard from an unheralded young artist.«
Harris Goldsmith, Musical America, 03/2010
“Dramatically enough, Arghamanyan delivered a songful and fresh-sounding performance of Tchaikovsky’s familiar Piano Concerto No. 1. Her fingerwork, was
brilliant… Nareh Arghamanyan’s performance of Rachmaninoff ‘s Piano Sonata no.2 in semifinals was cited as a competition highlight.”
Arthur Kapitanis, The Gazette, 2008
“Nareh , seule au monde -une artiste incomparable:
Nareh Arghamanyan est la magicienne qu’on a déjà décrite: celle qui peut vous faire venir les larmes en un phrasé sorti du ciel. On la voyait dans Chopin ou dans Beethoven. Certains se demandent déjà si on ne dira pas un jour Nareh comme on dit Martha.”
Christophe Huss, Le Devoir, 2008
“Certains se demandent déjà si on ne dira pas un jour Nareh comme on dit Martha[Argerich]…Nareh Arghamanyan brille à Montréal. “
Marc Zisman, Qobuz Info, 2008
“From the first chord on, it was clear that she was and artist to be reckoned with. She played with an equally big technique, but her playing was not just about technique-it was also about playing the music. Her involvement was total and uncompromising. You can tell she lived and breathed the moment, not just playing it with her fingers. She played as if possessed. I swear it came from her soul. With Ms. Arghamanyan , one immediately senses that it is all real , there is nothing phony or fake about it, Its very much part of her music making. Her playing was as poetic and it was prodigious technically. Here we have a complete artist-at 19!”
Joseph So, La Scena Musicale, 2008
“Arghamanyan played with a personal excitement and musicality that proved contagious to audience and judges alike. The slim and agile Arghamanyan swayed and bobbed with the music, not theatrically but as if she was lost in it. Arghamanyan and music were one, and this is what music-making is all about.”
Jim Writer, Times Argus, 2008
“Nareh’s performance was masterful and energetic. As she played, her young body moved and bent to the music, and swept the audience into her very apparent state of bliss. After a short break, she returned and played another 30 minutes ending with Liszt Sonata. The audience was overwhelmed with her performance and showed their appreciation with round after round of applause.”
Armenian Reporter, 2006
“Nareh Arghamanyan played the Grieg Piano Concerto with the maturity of a seasoned virtuoso. She is destined to have a major international career.”
Salt Lake City Tribune, 2000
“Nareh’s light and charming style is delightful, and her sense of artistry permeates all of her playing.”
Salt Lake City Desert News, 2000