According to some, Ligeti is about as post-modern as you can get. However, Ligeti's composition is more than just atonal, postmodern music, as demonstrated on this disc the amazingly effective use of space and time, and advanced virtuosity at the absolute service of the composer's artistic vision. In his own words: "the ironic theatricalizing of the past is quite foreign to me." Written between 1985 and 1992, the Piano Concerto and Violin Concerto together are supposed to demonstrate the full expressive range of his later works. The Piano Concerto is a whirlwind of rhythmically driven fantasies, created by precise, almost mechanical, colliding cross-rhythms, and twisted, sprightly melodies. The Violin Concerto is just as quirky and jarring, but wilder and more impassioned, less 'mechanical,' more vigorous, and ultimately the highlight of the disc.
ALthough not very famous, Jeno Jando is a marvelous pianist. He combines lyrical beaty with power and emotion. Both of these attributes are evident in this disc, which contains the piano concertos of Grieg and Schumann, both in the key of a-minor. In Grieg's concerto, Jando creates a perfect balance between Lisztian virtuosity and Grieg's own Norweigan nationalism. The Schumann concerto is my favorite piece on the album, and Schumann's raw emotion comes out perfectly in Jando's interpretation. A word should also be said for the wonderful orchestration of these pieces. This is a wonderful CD both to introduce these romantic piano concertos and to offer a wonderful interpretation of them.
Ligeti’s works on this disc provide an excellent cross-section of the metamorphosis in his compositional technique over a period of 30 years. The Violin Concerto incorporates influences from Medieval and Renaissance music, from late Romantic music and various contemporary styles.
This is the fourth recording by Patricia Kopatchinskaja on naïve; the second in the concerto repertoire. The collaboration with conductor/composer Peter Eötvos and the programme is an intense series of connections. Between Bartok, Ligeti, Eotvos and Kopatchinskaja, there are many links: Hungary, the land of the 3 composers featured; Peter Eötvos was the conductor of the first performance of the second version of Ligeti violin concerto, in 1992, with Ensemble Modern; Patricia Kopatchinakaja and Peter Eötvös have been working together for 4 years, performing several concertos, including those recorded here.
Walton's concerto was commissioned by Russian cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, whose reputation as a performer was such that he inspired works by no less than Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Hindemith. Though the concerto was not very well received by critics following its first performance, it is probably the result of Walton's singular aesthetic sensibility and place- perceived as an old-fashioned Romanticism in the post-war period. Wispelwey's performance effortlessly shifts through the strong rhythmic passages and the moments of serenity called for by Walton's composition. The recording also includes three compositions for solo cello: Bloch's Suite no. 1, Ligeti's Sonata for solo cello, and Walton's Passacaglia. The CD is book-ended with Britten's Ciaccona (Cello suite no. 2, op.80) which will clearly establish why Wispelwey is considered one of the foremost Britten interpreters.
This Ligeti entry in the Deutsch Grammophon (DG) 20th Century Classics series was one of the first Ligeti CDs. It remains a fine single-disc introduction to Ligeti, one of the greatest of late 20th century composers. These works are all from Ligeti's 1960s prime when he was exploring micropolyphony. If you never heard anything else, you would have a good basic sense of what Ligeti's contribution was to the late 20th century avant-garde. Included are "Lux Aeterna," the eerie choral work from 1962, made famous for its inclusion in Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey," and the String Quartet No. 2 from 1968, performed by the LaSalle Quartet. I think the Arditti Quartet surpassed the LaSalles with their Sony recording found in the "Ligeti Edition, Vol. 1," but this version is superb in its own right. The other three pieces are performed by the Ensemble InterContemporain, led by Pierre Boulez – "Ramifications," (1968-1969) "Chamber Concerto" (1970-1971) and the very strange vocal "Aventures" (1962-1965).