A Rare Gem: Arno Babajanian’s Piano Trio

We started the week with the Armenian folk-inspired sounds of the Khachaturian Violin Concerto. Now, let’s hear music of another, less well known twentieth century Armenian composer, Arno Babajanyan (1921-1983). Babajanyan was one of the Soviet Union’s premier pianists. His compositions range from a Cello Concerto written for Mstislav Rostropovich to popular songs and film scores. His music contains echoes of Armenian folk songs, as well as the sounds of his contemporaries: Khachaturian, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, and Prokofiev.

Here is the achingly beautiful second movement of Babajanyan’s Piano Trio in F-Sharp minor (1952), performed by the Potch Trio. An extended, searching melody of lament rises from a sombre drumbeat in the piano. The timelessness of these opening piano chords vaguely suggests the numb final movement of Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time. Following the violin’s opening statement, the cello enters and an increasingly passionate conversation unfolds. But then there is that moment near the end of the movement when we suddenly return to the quiet, sensuous melancholy of the opening.

Here is the entire piece performed by Trio Aeternus.

  • Find the Potch Trio’s recording of Arno Babajanyan’s Piano Trio in F-Sharp minor at Naxos.
  • a recording by the New Zealand Chamber Soloists iTunes

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

1 thought on “A Rare Gem: Arno Babajanian’s Piano Trio

  1. Wow. I was not familiar with this piano trio. Seeing the picture of the Babajanian statue in Yerevan brought back memories of seeing that statue in person and wondering about a completely unfamiliar composer. Thank you for introducing me to this beautiful piece of music!

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