Recent News
Imago Theatre
‘La Belle’: a beauty of a Beauty
Oregon ArtsWatch
Imago Theatre
Imago Theatre's 'Beauty and the Beast' tale gets an eye-popping, locally crafted makeover (review)
The Oregonian
Colin Currie
A striking performance from percussionist Colin Currie
Boston Globe
Colin Currie
Colin Currie brings probing mind and energetic technique to Pickman Hall
Boston Classical Review
Shai Wosner
Beethoven: Complete Cello Sonatas and Variations CD review – here's how to make Beethoven's huge structures work
The Guardian
Johannes Debus, Patricia Racette
A riveting Racette ignites in Met’s “Salome”
New York Classical Review
Wynton Marsalis, James Conlon, Giancarlo Guerrero, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Eric Jacobsen, Mariss Jansons, Ludovic Morlot, David Robertson, Gene Scheer, Gil Shaham, Yo-Yo Ma, Branford Marsalis, Mason Bates, Silk Road Ensemble , Nashville Symphony , St. Louis Symphony Orchestra , The Knights , Patti LuPone, Georgia Jarman, Ian Bostridge, Nathan Gunn, Thomas Hampson, Lucas Meachem, Luca Pisaroni
2017 Grammy Nominees
Grammy Awards
JoAnn Falletta
How the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Hit Its Stride
New York State of Opportunity
Colin Currie
Colin Currie provides the highlight in New World’s program of contemporary German music
South Florida Classical Review
Review: VOCES8's "Winter"

News archive »

Inon Barnatan: ‘Darknesse Visible’

Inon Barnatan
The New York Times

By Anthony Tommasini

Inon Barnatan, pianist. Avie AV2256; CD.

EACH of the pieces on “Darknesse Visible,” a new recording by the brilliant pianist Inon Barnatan, was inspired by a literary work. The thoughtful program is typical for this insightful musician. But Mr. Barnatan’s extraordinary playing is what makes the release so rewarding.

The three pieces of Ravel’s “Gaspard de la Nuit” (which roughly translates as “Treasurer of the Night”) take their titles from poems by Aloysius Bertrand. In this pathbreaking 1908 score Ravel explored new dimensions of sound and technique on the piano. There are fiendishly difficult challenges, especially in the concluding “Scarbo,” about a gnome who stalks the sleep of the narrator.

Many fine pianists have performed “Gaspard” dazzlingly, as does Mr. Barnatan. But I have rarely heard the piece played with such rhythmic and textural clarity. Mr. Barnatan’s slightly cool approach makes the music even more demonic. The pianist has collaborated with the artist Tristan Cook on videos of “Gaspard” that have found an audience on YouTube, including an especially engrossing “Scarbo.”

Mr. Barnatan, who was born in Israel in 1979, had extensive training in London and now lives in a converted warehouse in Harlem, is also impressive in another Ravel tour de force, “La Valse.” This eerie evocation of a waltz begins amid misty colors and evolves into something maniacal. Mr. Barnatan brings tenderness, lush colors and crisp Neo-Classical touches to Debussy’s “Suite Bergamasque.” An intriguing novelty is the English composer Ronald Stevenson’s episodic and inventive 1971 fantasy on music from Britten’s opera “Peter Grimes.”

Thomas Adès’s “Darknesse Visible,” the composer’s deconstruction of a song by John Dowland, has become a calling card in Mr. Barnatan’s recitals. Without changing a note, Mr. Adès reduces the song to slow motion, prolongs and repeats pitches, puts harmonies through displacements of register and reveals the musical ghost within. Mr. Barnatan’s playing is both delicate and haunting.