CLEVELAND, Ohio – As if we did not have already got sufficient causes to be grateful to pianist Sergei Babayan.
Now, along with all his different work, we even have the artist-in-residence on the Cleveland Institute of Music to thank for bringing Martha Argerich to Cleveland. For organizing and executing a musical night for the ages, a live performance none who attended will quickly overlook.
Argerich alone would have been the perfect. Had the keyboard titan made her Cleveland debut and uncommon look within the U.S. with a solo as an alternative of a duo recital, Severance Corridor Monday night time may need been a scene of true pandemonium. It additionally would have been simpler to discern and relate the character of her enjoying. Because it was, the place was merely bought-out, and the gang remained civil even because it applauded, cheered, and snapped photographs.
Nonetheless, there was no purpose to be disenchanted. Simply the other, truly. The efficiency by Babayan and Argerich, a presentation of the Cleveland Worldwide Piano Competitors, was thrilling, a momentous show of virtuosity fueled by inventive understanding and lengthy private friendship. Regardless of how profitable the forthcoming recording of this system proves to be, it should fail as an alternative to the reside expertise.
This system unfolded in reverse of what could be referred to as conventional order. It started with Babayan’s epic transcriptions of 12 actions from Prokofiev’s ballet “Romeo and Juliet,” moved on to Mozart’s cheery D-Main Sonata Okay. 448, and ended with a set of shorter Prokofiev transcriptions.
Then got here the encores. In response to vocal demand by the viewers, the duo provided not one however two substantial items as well as, each of them by Rachmaninoff: the Barcarole from his Suite No. 1 and Waltz from Suite No. 2.
By no means has “Romeo and Juliet” sounded fairly as electrical because it did Monday. Babayan’s transcriptions and his efficiency with Argerich contained all of the brute depth and dashing lyricism of the unique however little of its tragic sentiment. Again and again, the 2 pianists simply conjured a full orchestra with ferocious, pounding chords and wealthy textures, solely to show round and spin out some charming dance or radiant, achingly lovely melody.
One clear spotlight was the tinkling “Aubade,” which of their palms sounded divine. One other was the slippery “People Dance” and autumnal “Romeo and Juliet Earlier than Departure,” whose emotional aura and sense of foreboding got here as the one suggestion of tragedy earlier than the violent finale:…