Album review: Thomas Hell, György Ligeti: Études Pour Piano (Wergo)


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The Independent Culture

In Thomas Hell's interpretations, the various influences affecting Ligeti's notoriously difficult Études are bracingly apparent.

It's not just the invented title "Galamb Borong", for instance, that points to the gamelan influence on the seventh étude, but the intricate tinklings with which the piano emulates the Indonesian percussion; and the player-piano studies of Conlon Nancarrow are similarly apparent in the cross-currents underpinning many of the études, as is the more general effect of African music.

By contrast, the airy drift of "Arc-en-ciel" and the quietly methodical stringing of white-key chords that comprises "White on White" have a sublime austerity that speaks equally of Chopin's romanticism and the transitional modernism of Satie and Debussy.

Download: Désordre; Arc-en-ciel; Fanfares; White on White