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Jeremy Denk Plays Ligeti & Beethoven ()

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American pianist Jeremy Denk is emerging as his generation's Alfred Brendel, offering cerebral but not dry programs and performances informed by a deep structural grasp of the piano literature. More than Brendel, he has a bent toward contemporary music. This fine release offers an excellent introduction to his work, with a pair of works that initally seem to stand in sharp contrast, yet on closer hearing reveal a host of connections. György Ligeti's two books of Etudes for piano appeared between 1985 and 1994. They appear here minus the concluding piece in Book Two, Coloana infinita, which Denk omits for no very good reason. The two books are separated by Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111, a work in two large movements governed by classical tonality, while Ligeti's etudes, which fall into the long tradition that began with Chopin, are short, abstract works defined by technical devices on the piano. Outwardly they could not appear more different, yet Denk finds profound connections... Hide synopsis

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