Marking Aimard’s third, and Stefanovich’s second, release on Pentatone, Visions is a collection of works whose composers share a fascination with the sound of bells: Messiaen’s Visions de l’Amen is followed by Enescu’s “Carillon nocturne” from Suite No. 3, Op. 18, “Pie?ces Impromptues”; Knussen’s Prayer Bell Sketch (played by Stefanovich); and “Clock IV” from Birtwistle’s Harrison’s Clocks.
Closely associated with Messiaen from the time he was a student of the composer’s wife Yvonne Loriod at the Paris Conservatory, Aimard has been acclaimed by The Guardian as “one of the best Messiaen interpreters around.” About the new album, he explains:
“I played Visions de l’Amen from the age of fifteen, turned the pages when Yvonne Loriod and Messiaen performed it, worked on it with him, and played it countless times – invariably transported by the irresistible force of Messiaen’s vision. If having a home really means anything, then this piece is my home.”
Aimard made his label debut on Pentatone in 2018 with an account of Messiaen’s 13-part solo piano piece, Catalogue d’oiseaux, a tribute to the birds and landscapes of France that was dedicated to Loriod; Aimard’s recording was honored with the prestigious German Music Critics’ Award. In November, the pianist performs his live interpretation of the piece – called “masterful, with an incisive brilliance and relentless focus” by the New York Times – at Tokyo Opera City (Nov 3). Aimard also opens his season with Messiaen, joining the Stavanger Symphony led by Andris Poga for the Turangalîla-Symphonie (Aug 26); plays Vingt regards sur l’enfant-Jésus in Leipzig (Oct 21); and performs the composer’s Quartet for the End of Time in three Spanish cities along with violinist Isabelle Faust, cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras, and one of Aimard’s frequent recital partners, clarinetist and composer Jörg Widmann (Nov 30–Dec 4).