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Ligeti / Beethoven

Jeremy Denk , Ludwig van Beethoven , Gyorgy Ligeti Audio CD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

Price: $14.89 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
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Frequently Bought Together

Ligeti / Beethoven + J.S. Bach: Goldberg Variations (CD+DVD) + Jeremy Denk: Bach Partitas 3 & 4 & 6
Price for all three: $49.64

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Product Details

  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven, Gyorgy Ligeti
  • Audio CD (May 15, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B007SUW26A
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,049 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Ligeti: Piano Etudes (Book One): I. Désordre
2. Ligeti: Piano Etudes (Book One): II. Cordes à vide
3. Ligeti: Piano Etudes (Book One): III. Touches bloquées
4. Ligeti: Piano Etudes (Book One): IV. Fanfares
5. Ligeti: Piano Etudes (Book One): V. Arc-en-ciel
6. Ligeti: Piano Etudes (Book One): VI. Automne à Varsovie
7. Beethoven: Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Op. 111: Maestoso: Allegro con brio ed appassionato
8. Beethoven: Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Op. 111: Arietta: Adagio molto semplice e cantabile
9. Ligeti: Piano Etudes (Book Two): VII. Galamb borong
10. Ligeti: Piano Etudes (Book Two): VIII. Fém
11. Ligeti: Piano Etudes (Book Two): IX. Vertige
12. Ligeti: Piano Etudes (Book Two): X. Der Zauberlehrling
13. Ligeti: Piano Etudes (Book Two): XI. En suspens
14. Ligeti: Piano Etudes (Book Two): XII. Entrelacs
15. Ligeti: Piano Etudes (Book Two): XIII. L'escalier du diable

Editorial Reviews

Nonesuch releases the label debut from acclaimed pianist Jeremy Denk, Ligeti/Beethoven. The solo recording features Ligeti's "Piano Études," Books One and Two, which Denk memorably performed in a series of recitals in 2011. The New York Times said his reading of the works left "audience members grasping for superlatives at intermission." The sets of "Études," six from Book One and seven from Book Two, bookend Denk's recording of Beethoven's "Sonata No. 32" in C Minor, Op. 111, on the album. The Times said of Denk's 2010 Mostly Mozart Festival performance of the work: "This account, alive to every suggestion and nuance in the score, was an absolute joy to witness. Mr. Denk, clearly, is a pianist you want to hear no matter what he performs, in whatever combination-both for his penetrating intellectual engagement with the music and for the generosity of his playing."

In his Ligeti/Beethoven liner note, Denk explains his reasons for recording these works together: "One curious the way both Ligeti and Beethoven relate themselves to jazz (and to syncopation, rhythmic dislocation generally). Many people get disturbed, or confused, by Beethoven's anachronistic boogie-woogie; but I can't help thinking that however unlikely, this is an outgrowth, too, of ecstasies latent in the holy theme. There is a sense of ecstasy, too, in the discombobulations of Ligeti ...

"But the most significant connection for me is between Beethoven's vast timeless canvas and Ligeti's bite-sized bits of infinity. Almost every étude visits the infinite; Ligeti uses it almost as a kind of cadence, a reference point. From simplicity, he ranges into unimaginable complexity; he wanders to the quietest and loudest extremes; he veers off the top and bottom of the keyboard. Always the infinite is lurking around, reminding you that it's not impossible, that it exists. I think of the way, among other things, Beethoven drifts off at the end of the Arietta, the way he indicates ending without ending, implies an infinite space of silence surrounding the work."

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Visceral, dark, beautiful August 27, 2012
Format:Audio CD
I'd never heard of Ligeti's piano etudes or Jeremy Denk until he was interviewed on Fresh Air with Terry Gross a few months ago, though I've been a serious student of jazz piano and a more than casual fan of classical.

The interview and the samples from this recording it featured so entranced me that I spent the next 12 hours researching Ligeti and Denk, and have continued doing so (though with lesser intensity) in the months since. Jeremy Denk is extremely intelligent yet very accessible--both in terms of his playing and his discussion of the music.

As to the music itself, other reviewers have called Denk's performance "astonishing." To that, I would add "visceral," "dark," and "beautiful." Ligeti's pieces are among the most challenging a pianist can attempt; often times, the two hands are doing completely different things at the same time - playing in different keys, different time signatures, different dynamics, and playing phrases that move in different directions. Denk said, perhaps half-jokingly, that Ligeti was trying to punish pianists who attempt to play these pieces. Denk said that, to learn them, he basically locked himself in his apartment for months, with only his coffee maker and his piano, and kept practicing different fingerings and so forth.

It's also challenging to listen to these recordings. There's a lot going on. To my fellow Ligeti newbies, I think it would be every helpful (as well as enjoyable) to listen to that interview I mentioned (which you can easily find online).

You cannot help but be affected by Denk's performances. Repeated listenings are essential, especially for the Ligeti newbie. First, you hear chaos or confusion. Then, order. Finally, beauty.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Jeremy Denk is a unique artist as he so ably demonstrates in this recreation for Nonesuch of a recital he placed before the public on the East coast. Not only is his decision to bookend his immaculate and beautiful performance o of the Beethoven Sonata No 32 in C minor with excerpts from György Ligeti's Piano Etudes, Books one and Two, but his now expected discussion with the audience by way of his own liner notes enhances the pleasure of this adventuresome recording. . "One curious connection between the works on this album is the way both Ligeti and Beethoven relate themselves to jazz (and to syncopation, rhythmic dislocation generally). But the most significant connection for me is between Beethoven's vast timeless canvas and Ligeti's bite-sized bits of infinity." Stating how Ligeti's Études are seemingly a sequel to late Beethoven, he writes of how there is a thematic connection "between Beethoven's vast timeless canvas and Ligeti's bite-size bits of infinity," and "the way both the Ligeti and Beethoven works are about separations between dueling, different visions of time."

The Ligeti Etudes he selected to record are short and glittering pieces of immense pianistic variety. His fingers float so easily above the piano that one can't imagine him doing scales and exercises. His fingers delight as much in the impossible intricacies of a Ligeti étude, as they swirl around a Bach toccata. His approach to the Beethoven Sonata is daunting-not only for its physical command as for its emotional grasp.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wild, Challenging, Outstanding! January 30, 2013
By Op. 133
Format:Audio CD
I had the privilege of hearing Denk perform these Etudes at Duke University in 2011. His playing was electric and turned me into an instant fan of Ligeti's piano work (ordinarily I avoid Ligeti, so that's saying a lot!) It's great to have this recording of him and the placing of Beethoven's Sonata 32 smack dab in the middle just seems to work somehow. Denk is certainly one of our most cutting edge, intelligent and sensitive pianists. He a has a pretty cool blog site: [...] He also wrote an interesting piece in the New Yorker about "The Perils of the Recording Studio." Just get this album. It'll open up a whole new world of sound for you. And even make you hear Beethoven differently.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very satisfied customer July 5, 2014
By mwlr
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Excellent product quality and swift delivery
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars June 30, 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Artistry and understanding...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Denk is great July 27, 2014
Format:Audio CD
Denk brings a refreshing new approach. Try is recording of the Goldberg variations. Not everyone will love his somewhat untraditional approach, but anyone who is interested in the intricacies of classical keyboard will want to follow his work. The juxtaposition of Ligeti and Beethoven is especially illuminating.
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5.0 out of 5 stars MUSIC MOVES July 31, 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I bought this because of a brilliant interview of Mr. Denk on NPR. The cd holds a brilliant performance w/ brilliant composers. Marvelous that the Beethoven is placed in between the Ligeti. Gives the ear and psyche a chance to refresh.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterful Expdrience April 17, 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Jeremy Denk is masterful on piano. His strength and experience matches his talent.
After seeing him play in person not too long ago, I sent for this CD and was not disappointed! Although I am
also a fan of many other types of music, Denk draws me back into classical. He isn't just playing the old masters, but reinventing them with respect and originality. The piano becomes a partner. I am the listener and this trio is a joyful
connecting! I would highly recommend Ligeti/Beethoven, as played by Jeremy Denk.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Get it dammit
Great emotion and technically a genius what the hell more do you want ! Tough beautiful pieces too. You buy now
Published 9 months ago by Franz
4.0 out of 5 stars How many stars are there out there?
The Truth is in the Stars. The review is in the Star Rating. Check it out...and make your own decision.
Published 10 months ago by Dan on the mountain
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast delivery
Great product. Excellent sound. Fast delivery.
I am enjoying the great music. A light and heavy combination that brings you to another place.
Published 13 months ago by art worm
5.0 out of 5 stars Great music, terrific pianist, and interesting writing!
Jeremy Denk plays these difficult pieces with understanding. His written explanation of how Beethoven's sonata foreshadows Ligeti is instructional and entertaining.
Published 13 months ago by Pat O'Connor
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning success!
Jeremy Denk is an artist of extraordinary depth and sensitivity, with all the technical capability needed to realize his artistry. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Barton Hudson
5.0 out of 5 stars sparkling delight
I got this on Alex Ross' recommendation in the New Yorker.
It has become my fave album of the last several months. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Richard Edwards
5.0 out of 5 stars Ligeti and Beethoven
Excellent cd. Dent captures these difficult pieces with great virtuosity. As in his cd of Ives these should be on everyones list.
Published 23 months ago by Richard Scott
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