Sergei Babayan, Piano
Saturday, November 12, 2016 | 8:00 pm
Sergei Babayan was one of the first Soviet pianists to emerge after the fall of the Iron Curtain, and his arrival in the West was a sensation. Twenty-five years after his dramatic arrival on the international scene, this Armenian-born virtuoso is still hailed as a musician’s musician. “Babayan is no mere pianist,” The Scotsman declared. “He is a master-musician for whom the piano is his voice, his orchestra.” Babayan’s “unrivalled touch, perfectly harmonious phrasing, and breathtaking virtuosity” were lauded by Le Figaro. In great demand as a recital artist, he is also a respected pedagogue and was the teacher of pianist Daniil Trifonov, who is appearing at Duke Performances on March 31 — he has been called back to the recital stage by popular demand.
Babayan arrives at Duke Performances with a powerhouse program. He begins with a dreamlike fantasia by his Russian contemporary Vladimir Ryabov, building to a selection of Chopin’s arch-romantic miniatures, including the famous and poignant Waltz in C-sharp Minor. The highlight of the program is Bach’s thirty Goldberg Variations, the pinnacle of baroque keyboard music.
Arvo Pärt: Für Alina
Vladimir Ryabov: Fantasia in C minor, op. 21, in memory of Maria Yudina
Chopin: Polonaise op. 26, no 1 in C-sharp Minor; Valse op.64, no. 2 in C-sharp Minor; Barcarolle op. 60 in F-sharp Major
Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988