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György Ligeti Edition 3: Works for Piano (Etudes, Musica Ricercata) - Pierre-Laurent Aimard

4.7 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

No Description Available
No Track Information Available
Media Type: CD
Artist: LIGETI,G.
Title: SOLO PNO
Street Release Date: 01/28/1997
Domestic
Genre: CLASSICAL COMPOSERS
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 28, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • Run Time: 74 minutes
  • ASIN: B0000029P0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,109 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Christopher Culver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 11, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Piano music is the theme of this third volume of Sony's "Gyorgy Ligeti Edition", the attempt (continued by Teldec's "The Ligeti Project") to collect all of the composer's work in new performances overseen by Ligeti himself. This disc contains the first two books of his magisterial "Etudes pour Piano" (with the first piece of Book Three), and his early "Musica Ricercata" set, played by Pierre-Laurent Aimard, one of the greatest pianists of contemporary repetoire and Ligeti's hand-picked choice.

The Etudes are the highlight of this disc. Begun in 1985 and with two books completed and one in progress, they are among the greatest contemporary works for that instrument, and while I am a great fan of Ligeti's micropolyphonic music of the 1960's and his various recent concertos, I think that it is the Etudes that will come to be seen as his masterpiece. They are incredibly difficult works for the virtuoso pianist, but they are inventive music as well. In Etude 1 "Desordre", the notes unravel according to chaos theory. In Etude 3 "Touchee Bloquees", the pianist plays ascending scales with one hand while the other hand silently presses keys down, creating gaps in the sequence. Etude 4 "Fanfares" and 10 "Der Zauberlehrling" take inspiration from African polyrhythms. Etude 14 "Coloana Infinita" is a musical represenation of Constatin Brancusi's sculpture in Targu Jiu. What I think makes the Etudes particularly fascinating is that some of them, most notably Etude 13 "Le escalier du diable" and 14 "Coloana Infinitia" are meant to be too fast for any human pianist, and their definitive versions are for player piano. ("which are collected on Gyorgy Ligeti Edition 5: Mechanical Music).
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Format: Audio CD
With the Ligeti Edition still in print and new installments of the Ligeti Project being released regularly, it's been a challenge to keep up. (A Ligeti benefactor, Vincent Meyer, has subsidized the gradual production of a complete set of composer-approved new recordings of all his compositions, the Edition/Project, first on Sony and now on Teldec.) I have finally acquired this set of "Works for Piano" performed by Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Ligeti's pianist of choice, which includes Etudes 1-15, late works from the 1980s, and the "Musica ricercata," composed from 1951 to 1953 before Ligeti left Hungary. The early work gets better as it goes along, but is not as compelling as the etudes.

In the liner notes, Ligeti details many influences on his etudes, including the music of sub-Saharan Africa and its ethnomusicology, the jazz of Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans, and the pianistic composers Scarlatti, Chopin, Schumann and Debussy. Very interesting, all that, but the sensibility of these pieces seems to me to be more a return to the early 20th century of Debussy and Bartok than anything else -- a postmodern stepping back from Ligeti's signature micropolyphony and subsequent elaborations of the period from the late 1950s to early '70s (for instance, "Atmospheres," "Requiem," "Lux Aeterna," and "String Quartet #2"). It's a turn toward a lighter tone, in contrast to the dark, serious work of the high modern avant-garde, and a new focus on rhythmic complexity. Many of these short works summon up a mood of dreamy fantasy and reverie -- a far cry from Boulez or Xenakis! The Etudes stand beside the "Piano Concerto" (played by Aimard on LIGETI PROJECT 1 -- see my review) and the "Violin Concerto" (played by Zimmerman on LIGETI PROJECT 3 -- see my review) as late Ligeti, 1980s compositions.

Delightful on all levels -- composition, performance and recording.
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Format: Audio CD
Usually if you put someone in a hypothetical situation where they would be forced to give up sight or hearing, they choose hearing. Better to be deaf than blind, eh? But I would pick blindness because of music like this. Nothing compares to Ligeti's etudes for solo piano, composed in Ligeti's `later' phase. They are unlike anything else. Ligeti is influenced by everything from Conlon Nancarrow's works for player piano to Indonesian gamelan to African percussion music to the jazz of Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans to fractal geometry to Debussy to Chopin. And despite all these resources from which he draws ideas, the music is purely Ligeti's. They are diverse and intense, often beautiful, and always mind-expanding. They are also nowhere near as grim and dark as Ligeti's earlier avant-garde work, instead sounding quite joyful and pleasurable. There's the dizzying coiling of scales up and down the piano on "Vertige", the impressionistic harmonic structure and jazzy lyricism of "Arc-en-ciel", the simultaneous tempos of "White on White" and "Automne a Varsovie", and also "Desordre" (which shifting chords creating dual tempos), and the jazzy, churning "Fem", et cetera et cetera... all are masterful.
Pierre-Laurent Aimard's performances are outstanding. I also have Ligeti's etudes on BIS with Fredrik Ullen, so I can compare performances like a real classical reviewer. Ullen is sharper and more striking on pieces like "Der Zauberiehrling", "Desordre", and "Vertige". Aimard's pure, liquid grace enables him to better present the rhythmically lush "Automne a Varsovie" and "Galamb borong". Aimard's "Coloana infinita" is also more deliriously crushing and walking pieces like V and XI are a little better. Ullen plays faster for the most part, but Aimard paces them better.
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