Great review of Besalyan's CD "The Sound of Black & White" by Audio and Video Club of Atlanta.
Besalyan makes no secret of the reverence he feels for Gershwin and Khachaturian, as his steel-riveting performances plumb the depths of some of the richest harmonies and most pungent rhythms in all music. Khachaturian comes first, with the piquant Waltz from his Masquerade Suite. Then we have the intensely moving Adagio from the Spartacus ballet, eight and a half minutes of music that captures the tenderness of the love of the rebel Spartacus and the slave girl Phrygia, with a dark undertow foreboding their tragic ending. On to Gershwin, next, beginning with Besalyan’s performances of four delicious Virtuoso Etudes from the set of seven arranged from Gershwin songs by master pianist Earl Wild: Somebody Loves Me, Fascinatin’ Rhythm, Embraceable You, and The Man I Love. Wild himself couldn’t have given more infectious and compelling accounts of these old favorites. The high point of the Gershwin part of the program are the 3 Preludes, fast, rhythmic and decisive as the markings for 1 and 3 tell us, and flavored with a delicious amount of rubato in 2. Besalyan’s accounts show why these Preludes have been so enormously popular with pianists over the years. He continues his inspired work with a performance of the original piano version of Rhapsody in Blue. Besalyan selects Khachaturian’s Sabre Dance from Gayane, coming though with such a smashing performance, you wonder if the poor piano had to be sent out for repairs?
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