Press: Press Features

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.”

July 20, 2015
Pierre-Laurent Aimard opens a world of imagination in Ligeti's piano music

Another week, another site that demonstrates a brilliant use of the possibilities of the web to enrich musical experience in hitherto-undreamed-of ways: pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard’s Inside the Score project, on the piano music of György Ligeti. It’s an astonishingly multi-dimensional insight into two short pieces, the 13th of his Etudes for solo piano, L’escalier du Diable, (“The Devil’s Staircase”) and the first movement of the much earlier Musica Ricercata – and as a collaboration with the Ruhr piano festival, it’s completely, absolutely free for anyone to view, and you should.

June 22, 2015
Artist Transforms Classical Music Into Stunning Fluorescent Light Show

“Bach in Lights,” an animation by artist Alan Warburton featuring two compositions from The Well Tempered Clavier (Prelude and Fugue in C Major), is a clever fusion of classical music and modern animation tools. In this scene, hundreds of fluorescent light bulbs are hung in a gallery and parking garage, each one a physical representation of a single music note’s length and pitch. When a note is struck, its light, shadows, glows and reflections are rendered, creating a surprisingly life-like experience. It’s both technically astounding and incredibly soothing to watch.