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April 02, 2007


Lisa Hirsch

Oh, WOW, I want to hear this concert. Great account, thank you.

Alex Ross

I had a quite different reaction to the "performance" of 4'33". I was disappointed that he didn't actually play it, and found his treatment of it condescending. I found the entire second half of the program frustratingly narrow in scope. It was a very Boulezian reading of the twentieth century: tonality is permitted only in dissonanted folkloric writing of the Bartók type or in cubistic deconstructions of the Ligeti type. Huge tracts of the repertory were missing. The commentary also became tedious and repetitive — I wish I'd kept track of the number of times he used the word "new," without any meaningful descriptions attached. The first half was much more entertaining and original.

Steve Smith

Fascinating that our responses to the Cage should have been so diametrically opposed, Alex -- I was annoyed in the moment, but I thought about it later and realized what Aimard had done (or at least my spin on it), I was actually rather delighted.

You're definitely right about the limited focus of the second half: there were many other pieces I could have lamented the lack of; William Duckworth's Time Curve Preludes were another omission I thought of right after I posted.

And as for the commentary, well, there were several times that I wished Aimard had engaged someone to help him script the thing a bit more tightly. (You were the first to cross my mind.)

Bruce Hodges

It was a fascinating evening. And yes, if Aimard could have tinkered with the second half a bit (What, not a single female composer?) and gotten a bit more mileage out of his talk, I still can't think of another pianist alive who could have pulled off this concert. I have been talking about it all day, both with friends who went and those who couldn't be there.

Alex Ross

Agreed, it was a virtuoso performance. I just wish he'd expand his horizons a tiny bit.

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