Armenian-born pianist Besalyan possesses truly lucid and beautiful sound that reminds you of perfectly matched pearls. It was in the Rachmaninoff group in the first half, where the pianist displayed this quality with tremendous conviction. From the penetrating chords and piercing harmonies in the G minor Prelude Op.23 No.5, the beautiful melody leafed out and floated in the air, pouring out deeply personal inconsolable feelings. The depth of the melody in the bass of the G sharp minor Prelude Op.32 No.12 was admirably contrasted with the brilliance of the arpeggios in the higher register.
The rampant image of Mephisto roaming at will appeared from Besalyan’s tenacious and unyielding chords and octaves, and his capricious, and at times, leisurely changes of the mood in Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz. One could even hear the high-pitched satanic laughter.
The audience was dazzled and fully captivated by Besalyan’s bell-like tone in the music by Armenian composers Komitas and Baghdassarian, which were performed with magnificent imagination and splendid colorful changes of tonality.
Earl Wild arrangements of Gershwin Songs were snappy and tasteful.
In Besalyan’s rendition of Prokofiev’s Seventh Sonata the “violence” and the “cool‐headedness” were brought out with much power and set apart vividly from Prokofiev’s hollow and distorted melodies.
I must say that Besalyan is a true heir of the mainstream of Russian pianism, like Horowitz.