Review of "The Sound of Black & White" by All About the Arts: A Memorable Album from an Exceptional Pianist

Sono Luminus will soon release The Sound of Black & White (DSL-92249)

This recording of solo piano works by Aram Khachaturian, Oscar Levant, Earl Wild, and George Gershwin features the superb Armenian-American pianist Raffi Besalyan’s here in his second album for Sono Luminus.

The recording includes Oscar Levant’s Sonatina for Piano, selections of Khachaturian’s concert, ballet, and incidental music, Gershwin’s Three Preludes, variations on several of his show tunes, Rhapsody in Blue, and Earl Wild’s Virtuoso Etudes after Gershwin. 

Listen to Besalyan’s handling of the Cuban-inflected “clave” rhythms and the choo-choo train humor that Gershwin so inventively injected into his Rhapsody in Blue. Check out Besalyan’s dazzling agility in I got Rhythm, his laid back, leisurely stride of the left hand in the Three Etudes, and his rippling arpeggios in Embraceable You and in the Debussy-influenced The Man I Love.

The protean technique of this formidable pianist is put to use in all of the music heard in this album, as he commands all the intricacies of Khachaturian’s concert, incidental, and dance music, and the awesome challenges of Earl Wild’s Virtuoso Etudes after Gershwin.

Besalyan’s interpretive gifts comfortably encompass the classical and the salon worlds in a truly memorable album soon available from Sono Luminus.