“Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, like so many of his works, begins with a little musical surprise for the audience. In this case, it is the solo piano playing the opening measures to introduce the concerto, a simple phrase, echoed by the orchestra, engaging the listeners into the beauty of the music, while leaving us unaware of the powerful measures that are to come.
The soloist for this performance was Raffi Besalyan, a gifted pianist who was more than capable of managing Beethoven’s beautiful, yet demanding 4th concerto.
There was a certain sense of lyricism to his playing, and his technical prowess was made known as he mastered the numerous passages filled with scales and arpeggios. It was in several of these passages where I marveled at Besalyan’s ability to clearly delineate the different voices Beethoven had layered into the music.
Also significant was Besalyan’s ability to bring out striking dynamic contrasts in the music’s lines, this was most notable in the cadenza of the first movement.
His interpretation of the stark, yet passionate, second movement was quite lovely. He handled the dialogue between soloist and orchestra skillfully and with elegance.
Beethoven’s firey finale, Rondo: Vivace, is enough to put any soloist to the test. It was in this movement where Besalyan’s technical artistry came to the fore. He played the movement with flair of ease, meeting one challenge after the next. Once again, he was at his best with his interpretation of the cadenza, crisp, coherent, and musically satisfying.
For an encore, Mr. Besalyan performed a delightfully pleasing selection, “Spring,” by the Armenian composer Komitas.”