"Perhaps most remarkable was Aimard's consistent, deeply-felt musicality, delivered sans affectation or pretension."After wrapping-up his recent four-city U.S. recital tour, French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard returns to Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall on April 21 and 22 for back-to-back recitals that represent the only US performance of his acclaimed 2011 Deutsche Grammophon recording, The Liszt Project, in its entirety. Known specially for his innovative musical explorations, Aimard released the double album to mark the Liszt bicentenary, presenting performances of music by the legendary composer/pianist alongside works by those who influenced him and by those he inspired: Bartók, Berg, Messiaen, Ravel, Scriabin, Stroppa, and Wagner. This musical study offers new insight into Liszt’s compositional process, as well as revealing fascinating links between him and his near contemporaries.
— Denver Post
The Liszt Project was named one of 2011’s best recordings by numerous publications, including the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and the UK’s Independent. Aimard’s concert presentations of the album have received similar high praise. After his November appearances in London, the London Evening Standard appreciated Aimard’s atypical musical presentation: “For him, a recital is a collection of unexpected juxtapositions. Last night, he put Liszt centre-stage but surrounded him with later works that, in different ways, fed off his music, making us listen anew … This was an anthology of earth, air and water, with Aimard's imagination the fire that fused everything into an organic whole.”
Aimard’s first NYC recital, on Saturday, April 21, comprises a concert performance of The Liszt Project’s second disc, constructed in pairs that explore music’s ability to evoke certain kinds of imagery, and reflecting an overall journey from darkness to light. The program includes three selections from Liszt’s Années de pèlerinage, Bartók’s Nénie, Liszt’s St. François d’Assise: la prédication aux oiseaux from Deux légendes, Stroppa’s Tangata Manu, Ravel’s Jeux d’eau, and Messiaen’s Le traquet stapazin, from Catalogue d’oiseaux. Aimard talks to WNYC’s John Schaefer in a discussion following the performance.
In the second recital, on Sunday, April 22, Aimard plays The Liszt Project’s first disc, which reflects Liszt as a musical traveler and presents the idea of composers in general as restless, creative explorers. The program includes four works by Liszt: La lugubre gondola, Nuages gris, Unstern! Sinistre, disastro, and the evening’s centerpiece, the Sonata in B minor; also on the program are Wagner’s Eine Sonate für das Album von Frau M.W., Berg’s Sonata, and Scriabin’s “Black Mass” sonata.