About the Babadjanian and Vasks Piano Trios
The two works on this CD are representative of the significant amount of twentieth-century chamber music that is highly accessible. It is surprising to many people because of the unfortunate perception that radical experimentation and innovation, not to say revolution, are the hallmarks of twentieth-century art music, if it is to be worthy of any serious consideration.
In fact, the vast majority of chamber music composed in the twentieth century is writ-ten in a familiar tonal language and is quite romantic in character, that is to say, has expression of feelings as a primary aim. Peteris Vasks has been quoted as saying that music is an emotional art: “if there is no emotion, there is no art.” Similarly, much of the music of Arno Babadjanian, stemming from the post- World War ll era, is uninhibitedly romantic, even nostalgic. It is said that the beautifully intimate and poetic second movement of his Piano Trio was meant to express his profound gratitude for having recovered from terminal illness. Whether or not that is true, the fact is that the music speaks of strong feeling; yearn-ing to be expressed immediately and directly.
It seems that more and more composers are preoccupied less with experimentation, novelty and innovation than with expressing their aesthetic impulses and their emotions, including their reactions to the wonders and the tragedies of the world they live in. It has become more a search for authentic expres-sion than for novel means of construction. Many fine composers, largely ignored by academia, have been content to use a familiar language in a modern way, much to the relief of listeners world-wide, who are discovering that their century is filled with music that is both strikingly relevant and accessible, judging from the popularity of composers like Pärt, Gorecki, Tavener, and Kancheli.