Pianist Jeremy Denk's c. 1300–c. 2000 presents a centuries-long story of constantly emerging possibilities and styles of musical expression, an evolution drawn in a single arc by the music of twenty-four different composers, from Guillaume de Machaut to György Ligeti. "A piano recital covering 700 years of music: by most accepted definitions, that ought to be not just an oxymoron but an impossibility," says the Telegraph. "But the usual barriers fall whenever Jeremy Denk is at the keyboard ... Quite exhilarating."
Nonesuch Records releases pianist Jeremy Denk's c.1300–c.2000 on February 8, 2019. The two-disc album captures a program of works spanning seven centuries that Denk created and performed at venues including Lincoln Center, Wigmore Hall, and Piano aux Jacobins. "The history of so-called classical music felt closer to me now than it did when I first learned about it in college, not just more relevant, but more alive. Wouldn't it be amazing, I wondered, to experience this sweep and arc in one sitting?" For that program, Denk performed twenty-four pieces by composers ranging from Machaut to Ligeti—with Binchois, Gesualdo, Stockhausen, Philip Glass, and many others in the middle.
Denk says in the liner note, "You might call this album a version of time-lapse photography, which brings us from the 1300s to the present day in a series of sonic snapshots. I was aiming for a healthy mixture of light and dark, of optimism and pessimism." He continues, "To find a foothold, I started in the medieval era with two threads: the secular, and the religious. Worldly love, and love of God. At the same time, I felt it was essential to deal with a more purely musical love: the art of counterpoint, a foundation of the long story to come. If you don't care about counterpoint, you should. It is music's superpower, something it can do that no other art form quite can."
Produced by Adam Abeshouse
Recorded January 2017 at the Recital Hall of the Performing Arts Center, Purchase College, State University of New York.
Recorded and Mastered by Adam Abeshouse
Executive Producer: Robert Hurwitz
Jeremy Denk is a Steinway Artist.
Design by Evan Gaffney
Cover image: Martin Puryear, Ladder for Booker T. Washington. 1996. Wood (ash and maple). Collection of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Gift of Ruth Carter Stevenson, by Exchange
Jeremy Denk, piano