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A classical performance

International musicians present three-hour concert, and the crowd begs for more.

February 04, 2011|By Bill Peters

For almost three hours, members of the Armenian community sat transfixed as they heard two of their countrymen, violinist Khachik Babayan and pianist Serouj Kradjian, perform a rich and colorful execution of classical compositions Sunday evening at the First Baptist Church of Glendale.

Babayan, in his U.S. debut, and Kradjian delved into a fast-paced program of works by composers Franz Schubert, Ludwig van Beethoven, Giuseppe Tartini, Fritz Kreisler, Komitas, Aram Khachaturian and Johannes Brahms that was breathless in scope and virtuosic in its performance.

Both men have Canadian roots and have performed together in the past. A program similar to the one presented here was heard to great acclaim last November in Toronto. The 55-year-old Babayan was born in Tabriz, Iran, and during studies there was accorded first place in the Iranian Violinist Competition. He has toured internationally, and is a recognized violin pedagogue in Canada.

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Kradjian has performed around the world. His compositions and arrangements, including those dedicated to Armenian composers, have been well received on the concert stage and in recordings.

As lengthy as the concert was (three encores were performed) the crowded sanctuary remained attentive. Babayan used his masterful technique on the violin to produce expressive and warm tones. Kradjian at the piano collaborated with Babayan, producing seamless interplay. The duo moved from Schubert’s lyrical Sonatina in G-minor to Beethoven’s darker-toned Sonata No. 5 in F-major (Spring) then, following intermission, moved to Tartini’s gypsy-violin-inspired Violin Sonata in G-minor (“The Devil’s Trill”). Five shorter pieces completed the concert, each given emotion-laden performances.

In the Schubert work, Babayan displayed the light touch that made Schubert the toast of Vienna in his day in a performance marked by clarity of tone. In an extraordinary switch to something more somber, Babayan and Kradjian started immediately in the first movement to develop the themes, worked to a masculine forthrightness in the third movement, the Scherzo and Trio, and finished with a flourish in the fourth movement, the Rondo.

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