Album: Jeremy DenkLigeti/Beethoven (Nonesuch)

Jeremy Denk
The Independent

By Andy Gill

4 out of 5 stars

Ligeti's Piano Études are famously quixotic in pushing the player beyond their usual limits.  In "Désordre", for instance, the right hand is restricted to just white keys, and the left to just black: taken at pell-mell pace, the frantic rush of notes is akin to a Nancarrow player-piano study. But amongst the more extreme strategies are moments of great beauty, as in the Satie-esque progression of "Corde à vide" and "Arc-en-ciel", notable here for the way Jeremy Denk continues playing virtually beyond the point of audibility. He's ingeniously programmed amidst Ligeti's Études a reading of Beethoven's final Piano Sonata, in which order and chaos are as precipitously balanced as in Ligeti.