Press: Critical Acclaim

August 13, 2016
Festival Music review: Mark Simpson, Antoine Tamestit and Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

Five stars. Scored for clarinet, viola and piano, Simpson himself played clarinet alongside violist Antoine Tamestit and pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard. A fitting tribute to the great composer [Kurtág], the intricate interplay between instruments at work here creates a wonderfully vivid aural landscape. Moving on to an assortment of pieces from Kurtág’s Jelek and Játékok and Schumann’s Märchenbilder and Bunte Blätter, the order in which they were played had been expertly chosen to make perfect musical sense. Aimard’s contemplative piano playing in Kurtág’s 2013 piece …couple égyptien en route vers l’inconnu, inspired by an ancient Egyptian statue of a couple, inseparably stepping together into the unknown, was beautifully touching, while Tamestit’s interpretation of In nomine – all’ongherese for solo viola was haunting and hypnotic.

June 26, 2016
Aimard / Stefanovich / Austbø / Arditti Quartet review – clarity and ferocity

Energy and commitment apparently unquenchable, Aimard and Stefanovich appeared the following afternoon in alternation with the Arditti Quartet, playing works by the festival’s three featured composers, Julian Anderson, Rebecca Saundersand Benedict Mason. Again outstanding was Aimard’s first performance of Anderson’s Sensation, the title reflecting a concern with sensory perception over six movements. The held chords of the opening She Hears, written in memory of Imogen Holst, an undersung linchpin of Aldeburgh, set up the pattern of listening through, creating a vibrancy sustained brilliantly overall – the central Nuits wonderfully poised – with the final return of contemplative chords bringing resolution.

June 21, 2016
Review: A Pianist Pays Homage to Birdsong

The triumph of his birdsong day — which in its scope, scale and imagination is the sort of project by which festivals are judged — can only be redemptive. This year is his last in charge, and it will leave behind a landmark statement.

It will also leave the memory of a festival so broadly rich in interest that it ranks among the finest in the world: less glamorous than Verbier or Salzburg, but far more engaging, clever and resourceful.

June 20, 2016
Catalogue d’Oiseaux review – Aimard treats Suffolk to 18-hour tour de force

The pedigree of the performance was impeccable. Aimard is one of the finest Messiaen interpreters around, and the Catalogue was composed for his teacher Yvonne Loriod. But the way he chose to present the three hours of music was also a wonderful tribute to the festival and to the Suffolk countryside in which it has always been embedded. …By the time he played those two pieces, as well as the final tour de force of The Reed Warbler, Aimard had been immersed in this cycle for almost 18 hours. It was an extraordinary feat of concentration. Though one shouldn’t, the astonishing virtuosity of his playing could be taken for granted.