Ligeti: Works for piano & harpsichord

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COMPOSERS: Ligeti
LABELS: Col legno Collage
WORKS: Works for piano & harpsichord
PERFORMER: Erika Haase (piano, harpsichord)
CATALOGUE NO: WWE 1CD 20501
If any piano works of the last quarter-century have established a permanent place in the literature it is György Ligeti’s continuing series of Studies, well into double figures now, which like all important music have continued to set new musical and technical challenges for their interpreters. Erika Haase plays the first book of Studies, six of them, in this rather mixed-bag of a Ligeti recital. Her performances are technically adroit enough, but sometimes a little too hectic (though she does bring out the poetry in the second, ‘Cordes vides’) and she sounds more comfortable in the earlier keyboard works Ligeti composed in the late Forties and early Fifties when he was still in his native Hungary. There’s a whiff of academic correctness about their Bartókian counterpoint, and Haase keeps it all tidy and well-behaved.

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She ends with Ligeti’s three harpsichord works from the height of his avant-garde years. Continuum is a textural study that echoes his orchestral works of the Sixties, while Passacaglia hungarese and Hungarian Rock look forward to the new formal concerns of his works from the 1982 Horn Trio onwards. Again the playing is perfectly decent but not really comparable with the performances of the same works by Aimard and others in Sony’s Complete Ligeti Edition. Andrew Clements