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Pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard - album "Ländler" - CD Review, the 3rd of June 2024

Franz Schubert - Original Dances D 365; Ländler D 145; Sentimental Waltzes D 779; Waltzes D 146

For his latest album, released on the Dutch label Pentatone, the pianist Pierre Laurent Aimard has chosen a collection of dances composed by Franz Schubert. Rustic, cheerful and light-hearted, these miniatures capture a fascinating facet of the Austrian composer - his naturalness, harmonic searching, lyricism and pastoral style of these piano dances that were a hit in European music halls in the first decades of the 19th century.

The Ländler is a traditional dance from Bavaria and the Austrian Alps in ternary rhythm, dating from the medieval period. This musical genre gained popularity in 18th and 19th century Vienna, and had a major influence on the development of the waltz. A number of famous composers, such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Joseph Haydn, were inspired by this simple and melodious folk dance and gave it a touch of refinement and elegance. And in the Romantic era Franz Schubert was drawn to German dance music, composing an impressive number of waltzes as well as piano pieces called ländler.

In these waltzes we can admire the grace of pianist Pierre Laurent Aimard's interpretation, the simplicity and refinement of his technique. The musician chose a valuable Steinway piano built in Hamburg in the 1950s, in the Rudolfinum Hall of the Prague Philharmonic, for the recording of this album.

Pierre Laurent Aimard is described by the international press as "a brilliant musician and an extraordinary visionary". The 66-year-old pianist has had a successful career as a concert soloist and teacher, performing with the Prague and New York Philharmonics, the Dresden State Chapel, the French National Orchestra and many other prestigious ensembles around the world. The pianist is an acclaimed interpreter of modern and contemporary works. He has collaborated with renowned composers such as György Kurtág, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Boulez and Olivier Messiaen, and is currently celebrating the music of György Ligeti in projects on stages in Europe, North America and Asia. Although Pierre-Laurent Aimard has a particular fondness for 20th century repertoire, he also works on Baroque, Classical and Romantic works - he has recorded pieces by Bach, Schumann, Dvorak, Schubert and Beethoven, among others, proving that he is a complete musician.

About Franz Schubert's piano dance music, Pierre Laurent Aimard says: "In these concise pieces, Schubert immerses himself in the charm and ambiguity of the realm between life and death. It is fascinating how this master of large-scale musical also forms excelled in miniatures. These pages offer intimacy to the music and invite us into a personal and fragile world of vulnerability, gentleness and discretion."

Larisa Clempuș