Jeremy Denk's "Ligeti/Beethoven" Out Now: "Dazzling" (Observer), Four Stars (Independent)
Ligeti/Beethoven, the label debut from acclaimed pianist Jeremy Denk, featuring Ligeti’s Piano Études, Books One and Two, and Beethoven’s Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, is out today. To pick up a copy, head to the Nonesuch Store, where CD orders include instant downloads of the album at checkout; the album is also available to purchase there as MP3s and FLAC lossless files. Denk, who concluded a European tour with violinist Joshua Bell last night in Berlin, returns to the US to perform in Washington, DC, this weekend and to celebrate the record's release with a performance of music from the album at (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York City on Monday.
On Ligeti/Beethoven, Denk "displays his talent for finding connections between apparent opposites," writes the Observer's Fiona Maddocks. "The result is dazzling … The Ligeti is crisp, nuanced and technically flawless, the Beethoven beautifully shaped and flexible. As Denk writes in the CD notes, he is fascinated by 'Beethoven's vast timeless canvas and Ligeti's bite-sized bits of infinity.' That fascination is illuminated in every bar he plays." Read the complete review at guardian.co.uk.
The Buffalo News says Denk "is an exceptional pianist and a stalwart in that growing tribe of pianists who are as much irresistible writers about the music they’re playing so brilliantly as they are major musicians." You can read Jeremy Denk's complete album liner note, published earlier today in the Nonesuch Journal, here.
Back in the UK, the Independent gives the album four stars. "Ligeti's Piano Études are famously quixotic in pushing the player beyond their usual limits," writes the Independent's Andy Gill. "But amongst the more extreme strategies are moments of great beauty, as in the Satie-esque progression of 'Corde à vide' and 'Arc-en-ciel,' notable here for the way Jeremy Denk continues playing virtually beyond the point of audibility." Gill describes the pairing of the Ligeti and Beethoven pieces as "ingeniously programmed." Read the review at independent.co.uk.
"This is a revelatory CD on several levels," exclaims The Arts Fuse out of Boston.
"Mr. Denk is one of an increasing number of technically brilliant and musically astute pianists who are regularly drawing interesting parallels between complex contemporary scores and the canons of the standard repertoire," writes reviewer Jonathan Blumhofer. His "enthusiasm for new music is contagious. As a result, his interpretations of familiar fare are often anything but commonplace, filled with unexpected insights and white-hot energy."
For those who "find classical music to be a vibrant, living thing in which inventive pairings and convincing realizations of music of the distant and recent past can speak in fresh and vital ways to the present, Mr. Denk is your man and this is your CD," Blumhofer explains.
"At the end of the day, this album isn’t about technical prowess but profound musicianship, though it doesn’t hurt that Mr. Denk possesses both in droves," the review concludes. "He’s completely committed to this repertoire and utterly convincing in his performance of it, making this perhaps the most important classical recording yet of 2012."
Read the complete review at artsfuse.org.
For information on Jeremy Denk's upcoming performances, go to nonesuch.com/on-tour.