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Nareh Arghamanyan won the 2008 Montreal International Musical Competition. She is clearly an excellent pianist, strong in both lyrical and more dynamic, virtuoso writing. She is paired with rather lacklustre accompanists, however. The Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra under Altinoglu sounds uninvolved, which is a shame as Arghamanyan is clearly out to impress. In the Second Concerto it is clear that the pianist has totally rethought the music, and her playing is individual and often glittering. Thankfully, soloist and orchestra finally seem to gel in the tricky second movement. However, her phrasing can sound clipped, and there are more demonic readings of the third movement.

Arghamanyan manages not to sound overly metallic as she prowls the piano’s nether regions in Totentanz, and the zither/cimbalom slant of the fifth variation is expertly done. The Hungarian Fantasy is the best performance here, managing to avoid the impression of disconnected gestures (although the abridged version by Irene Scharrer dwarfs Arghamanyan’s efforts). Excellent recording notwithstanding, this is not recommendable. Stick to Richter/ Kondrashin for the concertos.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Piano International, 2013 - ©Rhinegold Publishing