Berg, Beethoven, Liszt, Debussy, Ligeti & Messiaen

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COMPOSERS: Beethoven,Berg,Debussy,Ligeti & Messiaen,Liszt
LABELS: Teldec
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Pierre-Laurent Aimard at Carnegie Hall
WORKS: Piano Sonata, Op. 1; Piano Sonata in F minor, Op. 57 (Appassionata); works by Liszt, Debussy, Ligeti & Messiaen
PERFORMER: Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 0927-43088-2
Until now, the French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard has been almost exclusively associated with the music of the 20th century. The programme for this Carnegie Hall recital recorded last December is similar to the one he gave in London in May, mixing familiar Ligeti and Messiaen with Liszt and Beethoven. The latter’s Appassionata Sonata, Op. 57, is the highlight. Aimard treats it as the revolutionary work it undoubtedly is, and in the white heat of his meteoric performance one can perceive something of the shock of the new as it must have been felt by Beethoven’s contemporaries. Rarely has the work’s nickname seemed so apt.

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Liszt’s Légende No. 2 and Berg’s Sonata exhibit Aimard’s ability to shape frequently transforming moods, from Romantic high drama to pensive wistfulness. There’s a wonderful attention to textural detail in two of Debussy’s Images and Aimard dazzles in three of Ligeti’s Études and characteristic, generous encores taken from Messiaen’s Vingt regards and Debussy’s Études.

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The piano is recorded quite close, but this doesn’t mask all the interjections from the New York audience’s winter colds. Matthew Rye