Sunday, September 20, 2015


A day spent listening to Liszt - a composer I've never had much time for (the usual prejudices).

However, today - a revelation. First, Argerich playing the first Piano Concerto (conductor: Abbado) & then Grimaud for the Piano Sonata in B minor. Both stunning.

The Sonata, in particular, is ear-opening & jaw-dropping: for all its scored permanence it sounds improvised. Inviting ridicule, I am reminded of Keith Jarrett's extended pieces - Bremen, Lausanne, the Köln Concert above all (the wild dynamics, the sudden shifts of mood, the percussive attack & massing of sonorities).  Several times I was expecting Grimaud to start yelping & crooning.

A piano being activated, explored, pummelled & caressed.

& then those last bars & the final chords. Messiaen! The 20th Century rings the door bell.


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