<< -- 3 -- Kelly Ferjutz 3, 2, 1 ... PIANO!
After intermission (and the removal of one more piano) Mr Babayan emerged for the marvelous Fifth Concerto in G Op 55 of Prokofiev in a splendid and percussive yet thoughtful rendition. Winner of the Cleveland International Piano Competition in 1989, Mr Babayan stayed here and joined the faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music, and has also performed internationally as well.
During his pre-concert talk, Mr Sheffer commented on the 'personal touch' -- that is, playing music written originally by a composer/pianist for him/herself to play, and bemoaned the fact that no one is doing this today. What a shame that this is so very true. The degree of virtuosity required to satisfactorily perform this particular concerto -- unmistakably by Prokofiev -- gives the listener an added bit of insight to the character and talent of the composer.
As a further innovative touch, a video camera was placed immediately adjacent to the left end of the keyboard, focused entirely on Mr Babayan's strong yet elegant hands. The curtains at the rear of the orchestra were opened, and a large screen appeared, allowing everyone in the audience a close-up view of the keyboard. This concerto requires the almost continual collaboration of the soloist, with very few moments of respite. The pianist displayed no nervousness whatever, even when the music was most frenetic, even skittish. Watching the screen could be a distraction, but yet it was fascinating to see the technique so up-close-and-personal. Curved or flat fingers, it mattered not. Mr Babayan used both styles interchangeably in the brilliant performance.