Listening to Beethoven, While Walking the Dog and Dodging Cars
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, the French pianist, was staring up at the beautiful blue sky on Tuesday morning and playing the solemn strains of a Beethoven sonata…
The program felt, in these surroundings, appropriately nocturnal, the park’s forested paths a mirror of the moody depths and wary, milky, moonlit glints of Messiaen’s “L’Alouette Lulu” (“The Woodlark”), from his “Catalogue d’Oiseaux” (“Catalog of Birds”). From the beginning, Mr. Aimard’s playing was a study in reverberation; it was perceptible even through slipping headphones how the music expanded in space and time. I only regret that, just as he moved from “L’Alouette Lulu” into the classic, slowly unwinding first bars of Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata, I accidentally turned off my phone.
Despite that unwelcome pause, Mr. Aimard’s point was clear: Messiaen’s forlorn yet slyly confident sounds were Beethoven’s, too. The transitions were crucial in this presentation; I think that by paying close attention to those, I experienced much of what Mr. Aimard wanted me to, even if I lost other aspects of the performance while trying to keep a halfway decent running pace. –The New York Times