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Monday, September 26, 2022

The Armenian-American pianist Sergei Babayan shone at the Argerich Festival

Presenting a highly complex repertoire with confidence and elegance is a sign of mastery. This is what the Armentian-American Sergei Babayan largely achieved, in a program that displays challenging works for the most seasoned pianist.

The night started with chaconne by Bach, whose 64 variations are as complex as they are beautiful. Various composers were commissioned to transcribe this work, but Babayan chose the one made by Ferruccio Busoni. The pianist achieved a transcendental reading of the Chaconnetaking advantage of all the possibilities of the piano that Busoni explores in his writing, without neglecting the magnificence of musical architecture bachiana.

The sharpness with which he managed to project each variation, to which added a layer of understated drama with changes in tempi and dynamics.

Sergei Babayan, applauded at the Teatro Colón.  Photo Press

Sergei Babayan, applauded at the Teatro Colón. Photo Press

It seemed impossible that, after such a start to the concert, the pianist had too much left to add about his technical and interpretative capacity. Until the time came for Rachmaninoff with the Étude-Tableaux (No. 5) and the Six musical moments (No. 2 and No. 6).

The difficulty of these scores is remarkable, even within the post-romantic Russian composer’s repertoire. Even with this consideration in between, Babayan achieved a performance full of vigor and intensity in which his fingers seemed tireless.

The heyday of romanticism

In the first part of the concert the pianist also visited lieder by Schubert, in Liszt’s transcription, to introduce the pure spirit of the romantic piano into the evening, which led to splendor in the second part of the night.

This began with Ballad No. 2 in B minor (F. Liszt), in which Babayan noted his ability to carry forward moments of graceful lyricism. To complete the panorama of works typical of the heyday of Romanticism, the program closed with the famous Kreisleriana by R. Schumann.

The interpreter went through the eight pieces that make it up with a frank knowledge of their contrasts, with which he achieved an overwhelming effect.

Babayan articulated the two parts of his concert very well.  Photo Press.

Babayan articulated the two parts of his concert very well. Photo Press.

In view of a theater full of young peoplethe result of the Colón’s proposal to sell affordable tickets to people under 35, the pianist thanked the applause and offered as encore the aria of the Goldberg Variations.

Undoubtedly the highlight of the Argerich Festival are the concerts that she stars with her guestsbut this was not considered when Babayan offered a night in which, with great expertisecelebrated the greatness of his instrument.


Qualification: Excellent

Recital by Sergei Babayan Teatro Colón, Festival Argerich Date: August 14, at 8:30 p.m.

Program, part one: Chaconne from Partita for solo violin No. 2 by JS Bach/F. Busoni, transcriptions of Schubert’s lieder by Liszt, works by Sergei Rachmaninoff (from Étude-Tableaux and Six moments musicaux).

Program, part two: Ballad No. 2 by F. Liszt and Kreisleriana by R. Schumann.

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Reference from clarin www.clarin.com

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