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Pierre-Laurent Aimard, “A brilliant musician and an extraordinary visionary” (The Wall Street Journal) returns with a program that explores the groundbreaking piano works of Beethoven—music so revolutionary that composers continue to emulate his style 250 years after his birth.
This second of Aimard’s two programs entitled “Beethoven and the Avant-Garde” begins with a fantastical flourish by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck. Then, George Benjamin’s colorful work Shadowlines embodies the “composer’s customary elegance, his paradoxical precise ambiguity, his gift for swiftly distilling mood” (The New York Times). Beethoven’s Sonata in A Major, Op. 101, is one of his most sublime musical utterances, with a first movement melody that seems to float directly from the hands of such a sensitive pianist as Mr. Aimard, and Alban Berg’s Piano Sonata—perhaps the last great Romantic piece written for piano—grounds us with weighty harmonies and beguiles with Chopinistic grace. Finally, Beethoven’s Sonata in A-flat Major, Op. 110 builds gloriously songful melodies into a thrilling, triumphant conclusion.