Pierre-Laurent Aimard – György Ligeti Edition 3: Works for Piano (Etudes, Musica Ricercata)

 Classical; 1997


As with any Classical album, the pieces were written a while ago and the recordings probably took place over several years. It was just released in 1997. Ligeti is more well known for scoring several Stanley Kubrick movies, most notably, 2001: A Space Odyssey. He wrote Classical too including the first two books of Etudes and the Musica Ricercata pieces included in this section of Aimard’s near complete recording of Ligeti’s keyboard works. (Ligeti continued to write for piano up until 2001 so more pieces were made after this recording was released, it’s possible and likely that Aimard recorded new pieces after they came out but I’m not sure)

They’re avant-garde and experiment in different aspects. These are pieces that examine the science of music. The 11 pieces in Musica Ricercata for instance begin with a first movement where the composer uses only two different “pitch classes” (all the notes on the keyboard with the same name, so in this case he’s allowed every A on the keyboard, of which there’s probably 7 or 8, I’d have to count next time I’m sitting at one), A and D. In the next piece he allows himself 3 pitch classes, E#, F#, and G this time. Only by the final piece is he allotted every single note on the keyboard. The etudes aren’t nearly so confining but they do have parameters assigned to them. L’escalier du diable (The Devil’s Staircase) is constantly moving upwards. In Desordre (Disorder, obviously) the right hand only plays white keys and the left hand only plays black keys.  Even with each piece being a very different and very interesting experiment, Ligeti’s signature sound is present. I can’t give you the theory of it, I’m not that knowledgeable, but in listening to the other pieces I hear a lot of similarities to The Devil’s Staircase, which is the piece on the album I listen to the most.

As always with Classical, it’d be far too tedious to type up an accurate track list.

Stand-out tracks:
L’escalier du diable
Der Zauberlehrling


3 Responses to “Pierre-Laurent Aimard – György Ligeti Edition 3: Works for Piano (Etudes, Musica Ricercata)”

  1. I thank you for this useful and complete post, I was looking for post like this. I like your blog.

  2. But…he didn’t write “Zarathustra”…

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