2021 NativeDSD Album of the Year Nominee – Solo Piano
For his second release at NativeDSD, following the album The Return, Pianist Raffi Besalyan and Sono Luminus bring us The Sound of Black and White. The album includes a World Premiere Recording of Oscar Levant’s jazzy “Sonatina”.
Besalyan says “This program is a loving tribute to Aram Khachaturian, the towering musical figure from my native Armenia and to George Gershwin, the musical genius from my adopted home, the United States. These two composers are bridged here by the phenomenal pianist/composer and Hollywood superstar, Oscar Levant. Some of the works on the album have been my loyal recital companions since childhood, the others have become such upon my immigration to America as a young adult.”
The Stereo DSD 256 and Stereo DSD 512 editions of this album are exclusively available at NativeDSD.
Raffi Besalyan – Piano
TracklistPlease note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Total time: 01:11:54
|Analog to Digital Converters|
Horus (recording) & Hapi (mastering), Merging Technologies
Collin J. Rae
Thanks to Georgia State University for partial financial assistance of this recording project
|Original Recording Format|
Recorded at Sono Luminus Studios in Boyce, VA on September 14-19, 2020
Pyramix, Merging Technologies
Mixed and mastered on Legacy Audio speakers
|Release Date||July 23, 2021|
NativeDSD Album of the Year Nominee
In 2021, pianist Raffi Besalyan followed up his Sono Luminus debut album The Return with a new album, The Sound of Black and White. This album features tributes to the music of Aram Khachaturian, Oscar Levant, Earl Wild, and George Gershwin.
Besalyan is an exceptional pianist. His playing on Embraceable You, Rhapsody In Blue and Sabre Dance are highlights. But there are many more. A fine addition to the Sono Luminus catalog and the piano performances at NativeDSD.
NativeDSD Senior Reviewer
A great one, for sure. Super recording!
All About The Arts
This recording of solo piano works by Aram Khachaturian, Oscar Levant, Earl Wild, and George Gershwin features the superb Armenian-American pianist Raffi Besalyan here in his second album for Sono Luminus. It is a memorable album from an exceptional pianist.
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 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 7 Virtuoso Etudes After Gershwin.
Besalyan’s interpretive gifts comfortably encompass the classical and the salon worlds in a truly memorable album from Sono Luminus.
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