The Sound of Black and White / Raffi Besalyan

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This program is a loving tribute to A. Khachaturian, the towering musical figure from my native Armenia and to G. Gershwin, the musical genius from...

This program is a loving tribute to A. Khachaturian, the towering musical figure from my native Armenia and to G. Gershwin, the musical genius from my adopted home, the United States. These two composers are bridged here by the phenomenal pianist/ composer and Hollywood superstar, Oscar Levant. Some of the works on the album have been my loyal recital companions since childhood, the others have become such upon my immigration to America as a young adult. The release includes a world premiere recording of Oscar Levant’s jazzy Sonatina.

REVIEW:

Pianist Raffi Besalyan presents a collection of works from his native Armenia and his adopted U.S, and indeed, he offers vigorous performances of music by Aram Khachaturian and George Gershwin. Most interesting are the points where the two composers meet. Highly newsworthy is the world premiere of the Piano Sonatina by Gershwin specialist Oscar Levanty. The Sonatina has a unique post-Gershwin language and makes one wants to hear more of Levant’s original music. One is left with the impression of an odd kinship between Khachaturian and Gershwin that no one else has quite caught. The presence of some of Earl Wild’s Virtuoso Etudes after Gershwin also works; the pieces bring a bit of the Russian virtuoso school, Besalyan’s specialty, to the proceedings. The whole thing is brilliantly performed and benefits from superb engineering at Sono Luminus’ Virginia studios. A satisfying cross-cultural essay.

-- AllMusic.com (James Manheim)



Product Description:


  • Release Date: August 06, 2021


  • UPC: 053479224927


  • Catalog Number: DSL-92249


  • Label: Sono Luminus


  • Number of Discs: 1


  • Period: 20th Century


  • Composer: Aram Khachaturian, Earl Wild, George Gershwin, Oscar Levant


  • Performer: Raffi Besalyan



Works:


  1. Masquerade Suite: I. Waltz

    Composer: Aram Khachaturian

    Performer: Raffi Besalyan (Piano)


  2. Spartacus: Adagio

    Composer: Aram Khachaturian

    Performer: Raffi Besalyan (Piano)


  3. Piano Sonatina

    Composer: Aram Khachaturian

    Performer: Raffi Besalyan (Piano)


  4. Gayane: Lullaby

    Composer: Aram Khachaturian

    Performer: Raffi Besalyan (Piano)


  5. Sonatina for Piano

    Composer: Oscar Levant

    Performer: Raffi Besalyan (Piano)


  6. 7 Virtuoso Etudes after Gershwin (excerpts)

    Composer: Earl Wild

    Performer: Raffi Besalyan (Piano)


  7. Preludes (3)

    Composer: George Gershwin

    Performer: Raffi Besalyan (Piano)


  8. Rhapsody in Blue

    Composer: George Gershwin

    Performer: Raffi Besalyan (Piano)


  9. Gayane, Act III: Sabre Dance

    Composer: Aram Khachaturian

    Performer: Raffi Besalyan (Piano)