Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 7°C

Search

Review: Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Beethoven & Ives, Aldeburgh Festival, Snape Maltings, June 17

PUBLISHED: 12:55 21 June 2018 | UPDATED: 12:55 21 June 2018

Pierre-Laurent Aimard plays Beethoven and Charles Ives at Aldeburgh Festival 2018 Photo: Matt Jolly,

Pierre-Laurent Aimard plays Beethoven and Charles Ives at Aldeburgh Festival 2018 Photo: Matt Jolly,

Archant

This was a recital to savour; one of today’s most celebrated pianists playing two outstanding works from the entire piano canon, what more could one ask?

If asked to choose the greatest single work written for the piano many people would probably opt for Beethoven’s monumental Hammerklavier sonata. Written when he was almost completely deaf and increasingly isolated socially, the work pushed the boundaries of sonata form and pianistic technique to new and elevated heights.

The arresting opening figure immediately announces the ambition and Aimard launched us into the vortex of the first movement, exploiting the extreme registers of the piano to the full. The scherzo was, by turns, whimsical, stark and violent before vanishing into thin air.

The slow movement is one of Beethoven’s most profound and original creations and which maintains a remarkable hold over an audience despite its span of twenty minutes. Aimard unerringly guided us on a spiritual journey of rare depth and insight. The probing transition to the finale was perfectly done and the vigorous and virtuosic fugue was delivered with outstanding clarity and elan.

The work by Charles Ives carries the full title Piano Sonata No 2, Concord, Mass., 1840-1860 and is a reference to the Massachusetts town where many of the original Transcendentalist thinkers and writers congregated and whose ideas inspired Ives.

Each of the four movements bears the name of a leading figure, in the case of the opening movement, (Ralph Waldo) Emmerson. Arguably this is the least engaging movement despite its use of the opening of Beethoven’s fifth symphony; it is heavily chordal and has a somewhat declamatory, didactic air.

The second movement is more mercurial and Aimard produced a brilliant flurry of notes at the start and an engaging swagger as flashes of ragtime and songs appeared. The sudden stillness of the hymnal chords was a heart-stopping moment and the slow movement took this to more exalted levels.

The final movement rather wonderfully suggests Henry Thoreau’s musings and flute playing at Walden Pond and Aimard quietly and exquisitely drew the curtain on a fascinating musical journey.

Thank-you Pierre, wonderful.

Gareth Jones

There’s something special about a well-performed pantomime. Arts editor Andrew Clarke spoke to Karen Simpson, from Bury Theatre Royal, about what makes this great theatrical tradition so successful

Gym goers of Ipswich are invited to a free workout with exotic-dancers The Dreamboys to raise money for Children in Need.

When you watch a comedian like Ross Noble, you’ve got to expect the unexpected.

Acting legend Sir Ian McKellen is touring the region next celebrating his 80th birthday and raising money for regional theatre. Arts editor Andrew Clarke finds out more about this ‘must-see’ event

Ipswich boy and Strictly Come Dancing favourite Robin Windsor explains how wanting to finish at the top of his game and the lure of a permanent natural tan convinced him to waltz into the sunset.

Within minutes of this witty and revealing play starting, you can see what attracted Private Eye’s Ian Hislop and Nick Newman, to write this extraordinary piece of professional biography.

Catching up with the Dreamboys on tour before their Ipswich and Kings Lynn dates, Lynne Mortimer asked them a couple of pertinent questions... oh, and a few frivolous ones too

SAS veteran turned TV star Ant Middleton is coming to Ipswich with his new Mind Over Muscle tour in 2019.

Named one of the best plays of all time for women, this was the right choice and the right time for the company to show it can do straight drama.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24