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  • Carnegie Hall Presents
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CARNEGIE HALL PRESENTS

Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Piano

Thursday, March 8, 2018 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
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Pierre-Laurent Aiment by Marco Borggreve
Beethoven’s colossal “Hammerklavier” is the longest and perhaps the most complex of all his sonatas, with a slow movement of rare emotional depth (even by Beethoven’s standards) that prefigures Chopin in its ornamentation. The sonata juxtaposes explosive power, fragile tenderness, and earthy humor, capped by a double fugue that rivals Bach in a dazzling display of counterpoint. Pierre-Laurent Aimard—a pianist The Times (London) praised for “stupendous technique, remorseless energy, and fanatical … passion”—performs this masterpiece and more.

Part of: Keyboard Virtuosos I

Performers

Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Piano

Program

OBUKHOV Création d'or
OBUKHOV Révelation
LISZT Nuages gris, S. 199
LISZT Les jeux d’eaux à la Villa d’Este
MESSIAEN "Le Courlis Cendré" from Catalogue d'oiseaux
SCRIABIN Piano Sonata No. 5, Op. 53
BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata No. 29 in B-flat Major, Op. 106, "Hammerklavier"

At a Glance

NICOLAS OBUKHOV  Création d’or; Révelation

A prominent figure in Paris’s Russian émigré community after World War I, Obukhov faded into obscurity after an injury curtailed his compositional activity in 1929. These two avant-garde works, dating from his student years in St. Petersburg, are stylistically positioned between Scriabin and Messiaen.

 

FRANZ LISZT  Nuages gris, S. 199; Les jeux d’eaux à la Villa d’Este

Liszt experimented with harmonies, forms, and sonorities that anticipated the musical languages of impressionism and modernism. These two works—the first as morbid as the second is joyously effervescent—date from the last decade of the composer’s life. Nuages gris has been described as “the gateway to modern music.”

 

OLIVIER MESSIAEN  “Le courlis cendré” from Catalogue d’oiseaux

A dedicated ornithologist, Messiaen meticulously transcribed bird songs and incorporated them into his music. This excerpt from his Catalogue of Birds evokes the piping of the curlew and the bleak beauty of the Brittany coast. Messiaen called birds a “symbol of freedom” and considered the sounds of nature “the only true music.”

 

ALEXANDER SCRIABIN  Piano Sonata No. 5, Op. 53

Scriabin began his career as a Romantic composer-pianist in the Lisztian mold and ended it as a proto-modernist. The fifth of his 10 piano sonatas followed closely on the heels of his luxuriantly orchestrated Poem of Ecstasy. He described this compact, single-movement sonata as a “grand poem for piano.”

 

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN  Piano Sonata No. 29 in B-flat Major, Op. 106, “Hammerklavier”

With its soaring rhetoric and penetrating introspection, the “Hammerklavier” Sonata anticipates the masterpieces of Beethoven’s late period. Critic Paul Bekker described its Adagio movement as “the apotheosis of pain, of that deep sorrow for which there is no remedy, and which finds expression not in passionate outpourings, but in the immeasurable stillness of utter woe.

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