Except for the Toccata that concludes this program, a fine technical exercise, the piano music of Aram Khachaturian is not much played, at least not outside the former Soviet orbit. It lacks the orchestration aspect that is the single most attractive feature of Khachaturian's music, and it changed little in style over four decades. This said, pianist Iyad Sughayer has an affinity for Khachaturian that results in attractive performances. He dispatches the Toccata's technical challenges without trouble, but even better, he has an instinct for balancing the virtuoso and the nationalistic elements in Khachaturian's music. The fusion is deeper in Bartók than it is in Khachaturian, but Sughayer catches the polish and elegance of the late Piano Sonata (1961) and Sonatina (1959). Another attraction is half of the Children's Album, a work that ought to find a wider audience for teaching purposes. Add in excellent sound from BIS, at an auditorium at Britain's Chetham's School, which captures Sughayer's sharp, percussive sound. An impressive debut that makes a strong case for this repertory.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Children's Album, Book 1|