Jeremy Denk Plays Ives CD, Classical
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Top Customer Reviews
I've been waiting for Jeremy to record these sonatas ever since we took a musicology class on Charles Ives from the inimitable J. Peter Burkholder together at IU almost 20 years ago! Even back then, it was clear that Jeremy had a special insight into Ives and that he could really do justice to these incredibly complex and beautiful pieces.
This recording satisfies on many levels. Jeremy expresses the over-the-top exuberance and almost inexpressible density of Ives' ideas with full gusto, and then drops instantly into the most tender and beautiful expressions of the nostalgia and referential memory of Ives. In listening to this recording, I heard things I'd never heard before, particularly the clear references to all of the tunes that make up Ives' world--it seems like Jeremy "gets" and honors each and every one of them, when many pianists get the major ones but lose many of the shorter or more hidden ones in the overall soundscape.
Perhaps even more satisfying is the way that Jeremy is so pianistic--he plays this so beautifully as a piece of music, not as a study in Ives. It IS a study in Ives, but I find myself absorbed in the beauty of the piano playing, too.
And the program notes are wonderful, showing Jeremy's mastery of these works on an intellectual and musical level, and making Ives interesting, accessible and relevant.
Bravo!! Buy this CD, whether or not you are a fan of Ives. You won't regret it, and whether or not you like or know Ives, you will find yourself discovering 2 amazing pieces of music, either newly, or through rejuvenated ears.
For those who know him from his blog Think Denk, there are, as you might expect and hope for, pages upon pages of insightful booklet notes written by Denk that help demystify that great American mystic, Charles Ives, for those who (like me) find him fascinating, but sometimes a little... well... mystifying! Also has a great essay all about the Beethoven's Fifth / Concord Sonata connection.
Both through his playing and his writing, this is a masterpiece, really worth it to get the CD as you get the booklet though it is also an MP3 - Alcotts is the most beautiful track - maybe a good place to start.
Denk's approach to Ives is about as committed as a pianist can be. Everything about the performances of these two difficult works is centered and under his control. While Ives' Concord Sonata is well loved, the Sonata No. 1 is less often played. Denk makes a tremendous case for it and offers a performance as fine as any on record. As far as the Concord sonata, few other artists have been able to plumb the depths while honoring both the wit and the profundity of the work as does Denk. This is a challenging pairing of works brought to the listener with a new compassion for the genius that was Charles Ives.
As for the live performance aspect of Jeremy Denk, he has performed in countless chamber recitals across the country. He is currently the soloist with the Los Angles Philharmonic with a reading of the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 1 (with Gustavo Dudamel conducting) that is a revelation. His phrasing and technical finesse bring fresh air to this well known work. He has the ability to communicate not only with the composer's ideas but also with the orchestra and a rousing response from the audience. Although Jeremy Denk is already a permanent fixture in the music world it seems he is on the brink of international acclaim. Grady Harp, March 11
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Having heard Jeremy Denk play this music in concert, I had to get this recording! First rate, no doubt about it.Published 4 months ago by Critic at large
I am not musically sophisticated or knowledgeable, but Ives speaks to me. His music seems culturally iconic for America, especially near the turn of C20--there is something cubist... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Franko
Denk is the consummate pianist! He made this concerto come so alive.Published 23 months ago by Marlies Hensel
This recording satisfied my wish to hear and learn more about the work of Charles Ives, and the performance artist. The enclosed explanation. Read morePublished on May 12, 2014 by John L. Meyer II
After 40 years, I finally found a recording of the Ives piano sonatas that I will wear out.
I own the Kalish & Aimard - both very impressive. Read more
I bought the CD for my generally taciturn brother, an Ives fan, and I've heard no complaints, even an odd favorable observation, which is high praise from him . Read morePublished on June 5, 2013 by C. Nicholas Lee
Denk has a passion for the modern piano master composers. I've heard him live in a powerful performance of Ligeti. Read morePublished on January 15, 2013 by Charles Bacas
A friend who is an expert pianist and critic thought well enough to respond to my query about Jeremy Denk's view of Ives' Sonatas to give me the curiosity to buy this album. Read morePublished on March 26, 2012 by Howard M. Raymond