Werke Fuer Klavier, Etued

Werke Fuer Klavier, Etued

Make no mistake, Gyorgy Ligeti's piano <I>Etudes</I> are a crucial to contemporary musical culture and equal to the hype they've received since the first book appeared back in 1985. The key lies not in their musical, but in their sonic variety, drawing a vast range of textures and sonorities from a keyboard idiom rooted in Chopin and Debussy, yet sounding utterly of today. Unlike their studies, Ligeti's work best when heard separately or in small groupings: hence the boon of having the complete series (as of 1995), so that you can programme your own selection. Try the sensitive "Cordes a vide" or the moody "Automne a Varsovie", music of strong emotion and atmosphere. If some of the later etudes seem more like musical conjuring tricks than fully-fledged statements, remember that this music, sometimes serious but never solemn, aims to entertain as well as enlighten. Aimard's performances are technically jaw-dropping and convey Ligeti's rhythmic experiments to perfection. The coupling, <I>Musica Ricercata</I> is early 1950s Ligeti: manic invention--especially in the final homage to Frescobaldi--seeking expressive focus. <I>--Richard Whitehouse</I>