Master pianist Sahan Arzruni performed Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto as guest soloist with the “Borusan” Turkish Philharmonic Orchestra in Istanbul’s 2,000-seat premiere concert hall, Lütfü Kirdar Konser Salonu, on Wednesday, May 30th. The concert was previewed on May 29th on the Asiatic side of the metropolis. His Beatitude Mesrob II, Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul and All Turkey, who attended the concert, accompanied by the senior clerics of the Patriarchal See, was the guest of honor at the 30 May concert.
Mr Arzruni was invited by the conductor of the orchestra, Gürer Aykal, for the last concert of the season, which also concluded the orchestra’s traversal of all of Beethoven’s symphonies and concerti.
The event was significant beyond its artistic import: Mr. Arzruni, an Armenian born in Istanbul, was being officialy invited to perform with the most presigious orchestra in Turkey. As expressed by the conductor Mr. Aykal himself, the idea was to further a musical dialogue between Turkey and Armenia, with Mr. Arzruni being the facilitator.
Wednesday evening’s program included two massive works by Beethoven: the First Piano Concerto and the Seventh Symphony. Mr. Arzruni interpretation remained true to Beethoven’s aesthetic values; at the same time, he brought out artistic qualities and pianistic attributes that made the composition to sound fresh and brilliant.
In the first movement, Mr. Arzruni emphasized the work’s structural design, culminating it with an elaborate cadenza. In the slow movement, the beautiful interplay between the solo clarinet and piano underlined the bathos of the section. In the frolicking last movement, both the soloist and the orchestra played against each other in a zestful and humorous manner.
Gürer Aykal was the ideal collabrator, who allowed Mr. Arzruni to interpret the Concerto in his own, unique way, without imposing his views. At the conclusion the exuberant audience called the artists back repeatedly and Mr. Arzruni performed a Chopin Nocturne as an encore.
After intermission, Gürer Aykal masterfuly conducted Beethoven’s A Major Symphony. The concert–as well as interviews with both the soloist and the conductor–was recorded for television for future broadcast.