Press: Press Features

March 8, 2016
Pierre-Laurent Aimard on life with the Messiaens

"It seems to me that for such essential dimensions in life like belief or our relation to the world or cosmos, we should try every day to make a kind of tabula rasa with all our life experiments, all that we read, that we listen to and what we learn – especially in a relative world like ours where we don't consider there to be one dominant country or one truth. I think each of us should make his own alchemy and find his own way. And in this case, one piece couldn't be the absolute key for leading a life."

March 8, 2016
Pierre-Laurent Aimard: adventure in piano mysticism

Aimard has been closely associated with some of the giants of modernist composition. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Messiaen’s pianist wife Yvonne Loriod — for whom the composer had earlier written Vingt Regards — and became a renowned interpreter in his own right of Messiaen’s piano music. At 19 he was invited by Pierre Boulez to be the piano soloist with his Ensemble InterContemporain. His formidable repertoire includes work by the leading figures of music’s avant-garde, including Karlheinz Stockhausen, Elliott Carter and Gyorgy Ligeti.

March 7, 2016
From the Canyons to the Stars

For Aimard, colour is everything when considering Des Canyons. “Messiaen had synaesthesia,” he explains, “and his ability to evoke a combination of colours in his writing is nothing sort of remarkable. The sheer black of the night sky is heard in which there are stars. The rock formations are harmonised by Messiaen finding notes to paint purples, greens and blues. And then his love of birdsong is there throughout of course. Messiaen celebrated the fact that in the Grand Canyon were birds that could not be found anywhere else. All those birds are layered into the music, in piano writing of considerable complexity.”

January 6, 2016
Recalling Pierre Boulez, a Conductor-Composer With an Ear to the Alternative

Yes, the early works, steeped in 12-tone technique, are steely and radical, like the first two piano sonatas. But last March at Zankel Hall, the pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Tamara Stefanovich gave exhilarating accounts of these pieces on a program presenting all of Boulez’s music for piano. The Sonata No. 1 came across as a work of jarring originality, especially in its rhythmic character, as the music unfolds with nonstop intensity through sweeping bursts and organic gestures. And the staggeringly difficult Sonata No. 2 seemed more than ever a young composer’s modernist retort to Beethoven’s mighty “Hammerklavier.”