Saturday, March 8, 2014

Pierre-Laurent Aimard Plays Ligeti

Pierre-Laurent Aimard was the first pianist to record Book One of Ligeti's Etudes on an Erato release from the early '90s, which also included the first recording of the composer's Trio for horn, violin, and piano. The Etudes were so dazzling and Aimard's playing was so dazzling that it was astonishing when the composer went on to write an equally dazzling second book and then a third, and when, in this performance of the first two books and the beginning of the third, made in 1996, Aimard surpassed his earlier effort. His playing is even more assured and incisive than before and each Etude is more strongly characterized. What's particularly remarkable is the way he differentiates the various layers of sound Ligeti creates. In the first Etude, "Désordre," for instance, he clearly articulates figures simultaneously moving at four different tempos. Aimard plays "Arc-en-ciel," a marvel of shimmering ephemerality, with exquisite delicacy. In the final movement of Book One, "Automne à Varsovie," the ending is so cataclysmically violent that it takes the listener's breath away. Ligeti's practice of layering multiple tempos continues to characterize many of the pieces from Book Two, and Aimard negotiates its staggering technical and musical demands with athleticism and grace. The three books of Etudes (including two not recorded here) are indisputably among the most substantial and significant works for piano of the late twentieth century. It was a brilliant programming decision to pair the Etudes with Ligeti's very early collection of piano pieces, Musica Ricercata (1951-1953). The composer traveled far afield from the aesthetic and technique of these miniatures, which are somewhat Bartókian (but clearly the work of an original thinker), with his experimental pieces like Aventures and Nouvelles Aventures, and the micropolyphony of Lontano and Atmosphères. One can hear in Musica Ricercata, though, the creative germ to which the composer returned late in life, which was to be fully developed in the Etudes, a fascination with ostinato, rhythmic propulsiveness, a visceral directness in communication, and a sense of playfulness. The Ligeti completist will also want to own a set of the complete books of Etudes, but Aimard's extraordinary performance makes this disc an essential part of any Ligeti collection.
Stephen Eddins

Source :



Works for Piano

Piano Etudes
(Book One)

1 I. Désordre. Molto vivace, vigoroso, molto ritmico  2:22
2 II. Cordes à vide. Andantino con moto, molto tenero  3:16
3 III. Touches bloquées. Presto possible, sempre molto ritmico  1:57
4 IV. Fanfares. Vivacissimo molto ritmico, con allegria e stancio  3:36
5 V. Arc-en-ciel. Andante molto rubato, con eleganza, with swing  3:51
6 VI. Automne à Varsovie. Presto cantabile, molto ritmico e flessibile  4:26 

Piano Etudes
(Book Two)

7 VII. Galamb borong. Vivacissimo luminoso, legato possibile  2:47
8 VIII. Fém. Vivace risoluto, con vigore  3:04
9 IX. Vertige. Prestissimo sempre molto legato, sehr gleichmäßig  3:02
10 X. Der Zauberlehrling. Prestissimo, staccatissimo. leggierissimo  2:19
11 XI. En suspens. Andante con moto, avec l'élégance du swing  2:06
12 XII. Entrelacs. Vivacissimo molto ritmico, sempre legato, con delicatezza  2:55
13 XIII. L'Escalier du Diable. Presto legato ma leggiero  5:16
14 XIV. Coloana infinita. Presto possibile, tempestoso con fuoco  1:51 

Musica ricercata

15 I. Sostenuto - Misurato - Prestissimo  2:42
16 II. Mesto, rigido e cerimoniale  3:51
17 III. Allegro con spirito  1:11
18 IV Tempo di Valse (poco vivace - à l'orgue de Barbarie)  2:17
19 V. Rubato. Lamentoso  3:12
20 VI. Allegro molto capriccioso  0:50
21 VII. Cantabile, molto legato  4:04
22 VIII. Vivace. Energico  1:15
23 IX. (Béla Bartók in memoriam) Adagio. Mesto - Allegro maestoso  2:15
24 X. Vivace. Capriccioso  1:22
25 XI. (Omaggio a Girolamo Frescobaldi) Andante misurato e tranquillo  4:24 

Piano Etudes
(Book Three) 

26 XV. White on white. Andante con tenerezza  3:51


Pierre-Laurent Aimard - p

Recorded at Salle de Musique, La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland ; December 6-9, 1995 ; & May 9-10, 1996 [# 26]


Melanchthon said...

cnjnctvsynth said...

Wow! Thanks.

Melanchthon said...

Wow !

Diògenes said...

Gracias. Es tan difícil encontrar musica de Ligeti -incluso en los blogs especializados- que éste es un verdadero regalo selecto que se agradece mucho.

fcapeau said...

Love this pianist ! I used to listen to him when he gave concerts with the 'ensemble interContemporain' in Paris, near Beaubourg Center, some decades ago.
Many thanks, Mel for this beautiful opus. I own the Cd, but didn't listen to it for a long time ...

Sergio González V. said...

Muchas gracias!!!!

Juan said...

The link isn't working for me. Something about an operation timeout.