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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'Prokofiev For Two'
Artist - Martha Argerich & Sergei Babayan

Here on the magnificent Prokofiev For Two (from Deutsche Grammophon), pianists Martha Argerich and Sergei Babayan present two masterpieces of Prokofiev in magnificent two-piano transcriptions by Babayan.

For those not in the know, Martha Argerich is an Argentine classical pianist who is also widely regarded as one of the greatest pianists of all time.

Argerich performed her debut concert at the age of 8, playing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor and Beethoven's First Piano Concerto in C major.

Argerich rose to international prominence when she won the seventh International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1965, at age 24. In that same year, she debuted in the United States in Lincoln Center's Great Performers Series.

In 1960, she had made her first commercial recording, which included works by Chopin, Brahms, Ravel, Prokofiev, and Liszt; it received critical acclaim upon its release in 1961. In 1967, she recorded Chopin's Polonaise, Op. 53.

Argerich is the president of the International Piano Academy Lake Como and performs annually at the Lugano Festival.[21] She has also created and been a General Director of the Argerich Music Festival and Encounter in Beppu, Japan, since 1996.

Sergei Babayan is an Armenian-American concert pianist who began his musical studies at age six with Luisa Markaryan. He studied under Lev Naumov and at the Moscow Conservatory under Vera Gornostayeva and Mikhail Pletnev.

In 1989, he traveled to the United States. That same year he won first prize in the Robert Casadesus International Piano Competition. After he won first prize in the Palm Beach International Piano Competition and first prize in the Hamamatsu International Piano Competition, he became a Laureate of the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition in 1991.

Babayan won first prize in the Scottish International Piano Competition and third prize at the Busoni International Piano Competition. He was a prize winner at the Esther Honens International Piano Competition.

His programming often includes Romantic composers such as Rachmaninoff, and modern works by composers such as Witold Lutosławski, György Ligeti, Carl Vine and Arvo Pärt.

He is also recognized for his prominent interpretations of Johann Sebastian Bach. He frequently appears as a soloist with such orchestras as The National Orchestra of Belgium, The Cleveland Orchestra, The Italian Symphony Orchestra of Brescia & Bergamo, and the Czech State Philharmonic.

Sergei Prokofiev (1891 - 1953)
12 Movements From Romeo And Juliet, Op. 64
Transcription For 2 Pianos By Sergei Babayan
1. Juliet's Death (1:42)
2. Montagues And Capulets (3:39)
3. Morning Dance (1:40)
4. Quarrel (1:28)
5. Gavotte (3:38)
6. The Young Juliet (The Nurse And Romeo) (0:48)
7. Folk Dance (3:58)
8. Dance With Mandolines (2:12)
9. Aubade (2:18)
10. Dance Of Five Couples (1:45)
11. Romeo And Juliet Before Departure (8:06)
12. Death Of Tybalt (4:14)

Incidental Music To Hamlet, Op. 77
13. The Ghost Of Hamlet's Father (Transcription For 2 Pianos By Sergei Babayan) (5:37)

Incidental Music To Eugene Onegin, Op. 71
Transcription For 2 Pianos By Sergei Babayan
14. Mazurka (1:26)
15. Polka (1:33)

The Queen Of Spades, Op. 70
Transcription For 2 Pianos By Sergei Babayan
16. Polonaise (2:21)
Pushkin Waltzes, Op. 120
17. Waltz No.2 In C Sharp Minor (Transcription For 2 Pianos By Sergei Babayan) (2:57)

War And Peace, Op. 91
18. Natasha's And Andrei's Valse (Transcription For 2 Pianos By Sergei Babayan) (4:55)

The Queen Of Spades, Op. 70
Transcription For 2 Pianos By Sergei Babayan
19. Idée fixe (5:55)

Total Playing Time: One Hour and 12 Minutes

“This project happened because of my love for Prokofiev, my love for Martha and my love for the ballet Romeo and Juliet,” reflects Babayan, and as you listen to this wondrous album, all you can feel is that very same love, his very same sense of passion coursing throughout.

The transcriptions are a twelve-movement transcription of numbers from the aforementioned ballet Romeo and Juliet and a seven-movement suite transcribed from the Russian composer’s incidental music for ‘Hamlet’ and ‘Eugene Onegin’, film score for ‘The Queen of Spades’ and opera ‘War and Peace’.

Both Martha Argerich and Babayan perform such well-integrated presentations that the longstanding friendship and collaboration is obvious. They both offer up quality musicianship along with piano transcriptions that might as well have just been created wholly for this masterpiece.

Indeed, their joint performances here on Prokofiev For Two are as mesmerizing as anything I think I've ever heard them contribute on thus far and that's saying something.

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