Ligeti, Messiaen, Takemitsu & Cage

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COMPOSERS: Ligeti,Messiaen,Takemitsu & Cage
LABELS: Verso
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Musica Ricercata
WORKS: Works
PERFORMER: Alberto Rosado (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: VRS 2006
The big idea here is musical searches, embodied in what the performer – a teacher and contemporary specialist from Salamanca – sees as key works from the Forties and Fifties. By the end you also sense a thesis, that the searching pointed composers around the rigours of Darmstadt and the Boulez influence towards the diversity of post-modern times.

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All kinds of directions could have sprung from the young Ligeti’s half-hour Musica ricercata, only a few pursued by this composer. The first of its 11 pieces consists of accelerating Hungarian rhythmic patterns on a single pitch, until the last note quirkily proves that pitch to have been a dominant. Each successor adds one more pitch and continues to explore textures and rhythms with overwhelming flair and a fascinating cumulative impact. The apparently simple becomes revealed as complex in thought, but easy to follow.

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Seven of Messiaen’s Vingt regards are a reassertion of nature and spirit, ironically by a musician whose teaching attracted the creators of post-war modernism. Takemitsu appears briefly at his most Messiaen-like on the surface, and his most personal in the free flow of ideas. Two Cage pieces are not so far in sound from the Ligeti: one rhythmic, one surprisingly neo-Romantic though increasingly repetitive. Rosado, a persuasive advocate, plays with power, clarity and a preference for bite over lyricism. Robert Maycock