By Dr. Jeffrey Howard
ARLINGTON, Mass. — On Sunday, June 11, eager concertgoers enjoyed a lovely program by cellist Christina Gullans and pianist Naira Babayan.
Organized by the Armenian Cultural Foundation (ACF) and co-sponsored by the Amaras Art Alliance, this diverse and inspiring concert was part of the Mirak Chamber Music Series and was given in tribute to the late Arsen Sayan (1928-2018), founder of the KNAR intercommunal Armenian Choral Group in Philadelphia and former musical-cultural director and chief producer of the VOA Armenian Service.
Babayan and Gullans brought an interesting and challenging program to the audience this day. After opening remarks by Ara Ghazarians, curator of the ACF, the program began with the Album Bien Tempéré by Ghazarossian and continued with works by Sayat-Nova, Hovounts, Komitas, Baghdasarian and Harutyunyan.
The largest work on the program both in length and difficulty was the Sonata for Cello and Piano by Avet Terteryan. Written in 1954, this is a complex and demanding work. Energizing and dramatic, this piece demonstrates a huge range of both emotional and technical skills for both instruments.
Gullans produced a wonderfully lyrical sound throughout the piece. The many dramatic and haunting melodies came across with grace and emotional maturity. Ms. Babayan as well handled the many technical challenges with ease and clear musical direction. There is indeed a profound and undeniable power in this piece that all were able to appreciate and enjoy.