Pierre-Laurent Aimard Honors Tenth Anniversary of Ligeti’s Death This Sunday, June 12, with Release of New Interactive Score
This Sunday, June 12, marks the tenth anniversary of the death of György Ligeti (1923–2006). To commemorate this milestone, it is on that date that Pierre-Laurent Aimard and the Ruhr Piano Festival will release a new interactive score of the Hungarian master’s Etude No. 2: “Cordes à vide,” as the latest addition to the Ligeti Project, the free, multilingual site Aimard launched last year under the auspices of the Ruhr Piano Festival’s Explore the Score. As the Guardian observes:
“This is a chance to delve deeply into some of the richest piano music of the late 20th century, in the company of arguably its finest interpreter. … [The site] demonstrates a brilliant use of the possibilities of the web to enrich musical experience in hitherto-undreamed-of ways. … It’s completely, absolutely free for anyone to view, and you should.”
The fruit of many years’ labor, the interactive site draws on the intimate working relationship that Aimard shared with Ligeti from the 1980s until the composer’s death. It was the French pianist who premiered and made first recordings of a number of Ligeti’s piano compositions, winning a 1997 Gramophone Award for his Sony Masterworks album of the Études. It was also he who inspired some of the great modernist’s most complex etudes, including Der Zauberlehrling, of which he is the dedicatee. As a result, Aimard remains without peer as an exponent of Ligeti’s music, the composer himself pronouncing him “today’s leading interpreter of contemporary piano music.” Click here to see an excerpt from one of Aimard’s masterclasses on Ligeti’s Etudes.
Drawing on this singular wealth of experience and expertise, Explore the Score is designed, as the Independent notes, “both to help professional pianists deal with the challenges of Ligeti’s music, and demystify it for lay listeners.” Each interactive score enables students and performers around the world to follow a Ligeti piano piece in real time, with sheet music that lights up the bars as Aimard plays them, in accompanying video footage shot from three instructive angles. Developed in close collaboration with Dr. Tobias Bleek, Head of Education at the Ruhr Piano Festival, the site also offers a short film about each of Ligeti’s Études in which Aimard shares his uniquely privileged insights into the composer’s music and its inner workings; a series of masterclasses with the pianist, filmed at the 2014 Ruhr Piano and Aldeburgh Festivals; and a host of archival source materials and teaching resources to supplement the interactive scores. As the Guardian writes, this ambitious pedagogical undertaking offers “astonishingly multi-dimensional insight” into Ligeti’s music, from “the composer’s favourite interpreter … and it’s something no admirer should miss.”
High-resolution photos are provided here.