WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Pierre-Laurent Aimard - The Warner Recordings


Release Date: 09/25/2012 
Label:  Warner Classics   Catalog #: 2564660448   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Claude DebussyGyörgy LigetiOlivier MessiaenElliott Carter,   ... 
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent AimardSophie CherrierTabea ZimmermannAlexei Lubimov
Number of Discs: 6 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 7 Hours 3 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Reviews of some of the original recordings that make up this set:

Eliot Carter, Maurice Ravel
Elliott Carter wrote Night Fantasies over the course of a year and a half, finishing just two months before the premiere in 1980 by Ursula Oppens, one of four dedicatees. That the other three, Charles Rosen, Gilbert Kalish, and the late Paul Jacobs, were among the most important champions of contemporary music at that time, and that the piece continues to fascinate and compel pianists to discover this large and bristling score speaks to its importance as a work of art. Now we have this remarkable pairing with another great 20th-century piano opus inspired by the sunless world, Gaspard de la nuit, of Ravel. These
Read more are two very different works, of course, the main distinction being the harmonic language. Carter is far more abstract, which is also significant in his topic. Ravel’s subject matter may be fantastical, but it does occur in a waking state, and it is rendered in a flowing narrative. Carter’s piece is as powerful an evocation of the dream world as any music I know. When I was listening to it with my 13-year-old daughter, I told her that I thought the composer was trying to create the sound of dreams. She heard merely nightmare music. With all due respect for her normally insightful commentary, the difference in our views was dictated by age and experience, for Carter’s dreamworld is very much that of an adult. There is not a substance to speak of, but an eerily familiar stream of consciousness, with the connections made by psychological nuance and bolting, sudden emotional turns.

Carter’s remarkable late-in-life burst of creativity and ceaseless imagination continues with the shorter piano works also included here. 90+ refers to his age, apparently, while the two Diversions are an almost Baroque exploration of structure and flow. Carter has a reputation for steely intellectualism, and it is impossible to appreciate this music without actively thoughtful listening, but that process will also peel away a skin to reveal a gently trickling sensuality.

Ravel’s great masterpiece is almost overexposed these days, and so it is good to find Aimard in an individualistic frame of mind about his interpretation. Aimard seems to play everything from Beethoven to Messiaen with an extraordinary feel for texture and clarity, and, as a corollary, a dry tonality. This is a sort of anti-traditionalist reading, a far cry from, say, the oozing, liquidy sound of Nojima. As such, this is, for my ears, a fresh and highly satisfying reading, in no way disrespectful to the composer’s vision. That same approach is ideal in the music of Carter... A brilliant and compelling release in every way."

– Peter Burwasser, Fanfare

Claude Debussy
Debussy’s Études are the direct forerunners of those by Ligeti, so it’s hardly surprising that Pierre-Laurent Aimard, whose performances of Ligeti’s pieces are unsurpassed, should prove such a strong advocate for them. The earlier master’s studies for chromatic scales and for the ‘eight fingers’, as well as the piece called ‘Mouvement’ from the first Book of his Images, foreshadow the vertiginous, almost mechanical style of keyboard writing so strikingly exploited by Ligeti. Aimard not only dispatches these pieces with dazzling virtuosity, he also brings out all the richness and textural counterpoint of such seminal studies as those for contrasting sonorities and for compound arpeggios.

Mind you, he’s up against formidable competition from Mitsuko Uchida, whose version of the Études is surely one of the outstanding piano recordings of recent years. Where Uchida excels is in evoking the capriciousness of the scherzando writing that is such an important feature of these pieces. In her hands the brusque interruptions and tempo changes that punctuate the opening mock-Czerny piece sound wittier than they do in Aimard’s more sober account; and her slower tempo for the octaves study allows for greater rhythmic freedom, as well as more explosive outbursts of joy. But in the end it’s a close-run thing, and I wouldn’t want to suggest that Aimard’s performances of these endlessly fascinating pieces are anything short of masterly. It’s worth considering, too, that his disc, recorded with the same warmth and fullness of tone as Uchida’s, comes with the very considerable bonus of both books of Images.

Performance: 5 (out of 5), Sound: 5 (out of 5)

– BBC Music Magazine

Charles Ives
Given Aimard's celebrated proficiency with difficult 20th-century solo piano works, it comes as no surprise that he makes the Concord Sonata's knottiest pages sound easy to play and clear to perceive--as in Hawthorne's lightning-quick runs, Ragtime-influenced passages, and mountains of chord clusters. The Alcotts movement might seem too brisk and business-like to listeners accustomed to more genial, softer-edged accounts, however I find the added rigor and rhythmic backbone refreshing. Notice also how Aimard articulates Ives' varied accentuations and stress markings by timbral distinction rather than merely adjusting dynamics. He matches the polish and power of Marc-André Hamelin's New World Records recording, while imparting an idiomatic flavor to the march and hymn-tune quotations that we've missed since the Concord's vinyl heyday via Kirkpatrick, Kontarsky, Szidon, and Mandel.

– Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com

Messiaen

As we look back and begin to assess with a more distanced eye the musical achievements of the 20th century, 1944's Vingt Regards should stand as one of the great works written for solo piano. (Of course, if you don't like the composer's sensibility to begin with--"too much butterscotch and religion," as one of my friends says--then you'll most likely disagree with me.) In the right hands, Messiaen's writing can astonish with its breadth and color, but it is difficult to find an interpreter who can resist the tendency of most pianists to over-sentimentalize the music.

French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard is an ideal match for the Vingt Regards. He was a longtime student of Messiaen's wife, Yvonne Loriod, whose 1973 recording of this music for Erato, overseen by the composer, still provides its benchmark rendition. Aimard himself was quite close to Messiaen both professionally and personally, and Teldec underscores that relationship by including in the booklet a picture of Aimard, his wife, their son Marc-Antoine, and the composer, who was the child's godfather. (Is the label trying to validate Aimard's interpretation by proving just how close they were? How subtle!)

No matter. Aimard doesn't need to go to such lengths to prove his worth, as his playing speaks volumes. His tone is astringent, an excellent brace against the dangers of saccharine overload that would tempt a lesser player. He rigorously structures his playing, never allowing any of the 20 movements to sprawl out of control, until he finishes with a splendid Regard de l'Église d'Amour. The recording's depth and focus helps highlight the contours of Aimard's pianism. Note to the butterscotch brigade: If any recording of Messiaen could convert you, this would be it.

– Anastasia Tsioulcas, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Images for Piano, Set 1 by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1905; France 
Date of Recording: 12/03/2001 
Venue:  Carnegie Hall, New York 
Length: 19 Minutes 28 Secs. 
2.
Images for Piano, Set 2 by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907; France 
Date of Recording: 12/03/2001 
Venue:  Carnegie Hall, New York 
Length: 18 Minutes 3 Secs. 
3.
Etudes (12) for Piano, Book 1 by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915; France 
Venue:  Salle de Musique, Théâtre de La Chaux-de 
Length: 20 Minutes 49 Secs. 
4.
Etudes (12) for Piano, Book 2 by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915; France 
Venue:  Salle de Musique, Théâtre de La Chaux-de 
Length: 24 Minutes 0 Secs. 
5.
Études pour piano: 4. Fanfares by György Ligeti
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1985-1995 
Venue:  Salle de Musique, Théâtre de La Chaux-de 
Length: 3 Minutes 31 Secs. 
6.
Études pour piano: 8. Fém by György Ligeti
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1985-1995 
Venue:  Salle de Musique, Théâtre de La Chaux-de 
Length: 3 Minutes 7 Secs. 
7.
Études pour piano: 12. Entrelacs by György Ligeti
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1985-1995 
Venue:  Salle de Musique, Théâtre de La Chaux-de 
Length: 3 Minutes 5 Secs. 
8.
Études pour piano: 16. Pour Irina by György Ligeti
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1985-1995 
Venue:  Salle de Musique, Théâtre de La Chaux-de 
Length: 4 Minutes 3 Secs. 
9.
Études pour piano: 17. A bout de souffle by György Ligeti
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1985-1995 
Venue:  Salle de Musique, Théâtre de La Chaux-de 
Length: 2 Minutes 25 Secs. 
10.
Études pour piano: 18. Canon by György Ligeti
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1985-1995 
Venue:  Salle de Musique, Théâtre de La Chaux-de 
Length: 1 Minutes 32 Secs. 
11.
Vingt regards sur l'enfant Jésus by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; France 
Date of Recording: 12/03/2001 
Venue:  Carnegie Hall, New York 
Length: 101 Minutes 29 Secs. 
12.
Night Fantasies by Elliott Carter
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1980; USA 
Venue:  Großer Saal, Konzerthaus, Vienna 
Length: 22 Minutes 23 Secs. 
13.
Diversions (2) by Elliott Carter
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1999; USA 
Venue:  Großer Saal, Konzerthaus, Vienna 
Length: 7 Minutes 44 Secs. 
14.
90+ by Elliott Carter
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1994; USA 
Venue:  Großer Saal, Konzerthaus, Vienna 
Length: 5 Minutes 32 Secs. 
15.
Sonatine for Flute and Piano by Pierre Boulez
Performer:  Sophie Cherrier (Flute), Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946 
Date of Recording: 03/1990-09/1990 
Venue:  Espace de Projection, Ircam, Paris 
Length: 11 Minutes 37 Secs. 
16.
Sonata for Piano no 1 by Pierre Boulez
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946 
Date of Recording: 03/1990-09/1990 
Venue:  Espace de Projection, Ircam, Paris 
Length: 8 Minutes 51 Secs. 
17.
Légendes (2) for Piano, S 175: no 2, St Francis de Paule walks on water by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1863; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: 12/03/2001 
Venue:  Carnegie Hall, New York 
Length: 9 Minutes 42 Secs. 
18.
Études pour piano: 2. Cordes ŕ vide by György Ligeti
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1985-1995 
Date of Recording: 12/03/2001 
Venue:  Carnegie Hall, New York 
Length: 2 Minutes 59 Secs. 
19.
Études pour piano: 6. Automne ŕ Varsovie by György Ligeti
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1985-1995 
Date of Recording: 12/03/2001 
Venue:  Carnegie Hall, New York 
Length: 4 Minutes 44 Secs. 
20.
Etudes (8) for Piano, Book 2: no 10, Dar Zauberlehrling by György Ligeti
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1988-1993 
Date of Recording: 12/03/2001 
Venue:  Carnegie Hall, New York 
Length: 2 Minutes 27 Secs. 
21.
Etudes (12) for Piano, Book 1: no 6, Pour les huits doigts by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915; France 
Date of Recording: 12/03/2001 
Venue:  Carnegie Hall, New York 
Length: 2 Minutes 11 Secs. 
22.
Gaspard de la nuit by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1908; France 
Venue:  Großer Saal, Konzerthaus, Vienna 
Length: 23 Minutes 20 Secs. 
23.
Sonata for Piano, Op. 1 by Alban Berg
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: ?1907-08; Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/03/2001 
Venue:  Carnegie Hall, New York 
Length: 11 Minutes 36 Secs. 
24.
Sonata for Piano no 23 in F minor, Op. 57 "Appassionata" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1804-1805; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/03/2001 
Venue:  Carnegie Hall, New York 
Length: 25 Minutes 17 Secs. 
25.
Sonata for Piano no 2 "Concord, Mass 1840-60" by Charles Ives
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano), Tabea Zimmermann (Viola)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911-1915; USA 
Venue:  Großer Saal, Konzerthaus, Vienna 
Length: 48 Minutes 4 Secs. 
26.
Quarter-tone Pieces (3) for 2 Pianos by Charles Ives
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano), Alexei Lubimov (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923-1924; USA 
Venue:  Großer Saal, Konzerthaus, Vienna 
Length: 11 Minutes 15 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In