Widely acclaimed as a key figure in the music of our time and as a uniquely significant interpreter of piano repertoire from every age, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, is our artist of the season!
Born in Lyon in 1957, Pierre-Laurent Aimard studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Yvonne Loriod and in London with Maria Curcio. Early career landmarks included winning first prize in the 1973 Messiaen Competition at the age of 16 and being appointed, three years later, by Pierre Boulez to become the Ensemble Intercontemporain's first solo pianist.
Aimard has collaborated closely with many leading composers including Kurtág, Stockhausen, Carter, Boulez and George Benjamin and had a long association with Ligeti, recording his complete works for piano. Most recently he performed the world premiere of Kurtág’s piano work at a celebration of the composer’s 90th birthday. Recent seasons have included the world premieres of Harrison Birtwistle’s piano concerto Responses; Sweet disorder and the carefully careless, as well as Carter’s last piece Epigrams for piano, cello and violin, which was written for Pierre-Laurent. Through his professorship at the Hochschule Köln as well as numerous series of concert lectures and workshops worldwide, he sheds an inspiring and very personal light on music of all periods.
The French pianist has signed to PENTATONE in July 2017 and intends to record key works from his repertoire, spanning three centuries and ranging from Bach to Kurtág. The release of Messiaen’s complete Catalogue d’oiseaux, a first in Aimard’s discography, marked this significant new partnership. The pianist was personally very close to the composer himself and his wife, Yvonne Loriod, for whom Messiaen wrote the Catalogue.
As PENTATONE’s Artist of the Season, Aimard reveals exclusive insights from this début recording. The below videos are also included in the bonus DVD available as part of the physical box-set.
As the set reveals time and again, Aimard has long digested and internalized Messiaen’s colorful keyboard syntax. The pianist voices and balances extended sequences of chords with the utmost clarity and specificity. Minute variations in rhythmic asymmetry are scrupulously articulated, while Aimard never shortchanges the music’s frequent moments of silence.
His performance of this opus is the best since that of his teacher.
Classical CD Review
Engineers have captured a most realistic, shimmering piano sound, and the digital process perfectly captured the manifold moments of absolute silence written into the score. Three disks contain the performance, and a plus is an extra disk, a DVD in which the pianist explains the music in detail with performance excerpts, and an interview with him. A terrific set!