Pierre-Laurent Aimard's Contrapuntal World

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Few musicians have impacted contemporary music and its place in modern culture more profoundly than French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard. He mixes "new" and "old" repertoire in ways that erase the usual battle lines between genres by illuminating features of their connection, influence and dependence.

This week on Hammered! join Aimard inside that Venn diagram overlap, that rich space shared by concentric musical circles, as he performs and introduces music by György Ligeti, Olivier Messiaen, Charles Ives, African Pygmies, Steve Reich and many more.

Aimard has a staggering breadth of musical experience and seemingly plays everything, everywhere, and all extremely well (seriously, when does he even have time to learn something like the Tristan Murail Piano Concerto amid piles of other musical engagements?).

Among Aimard's many insights on this week's program, his recollections of György Ligeti and Olivier Messiaen are especially illuminating (Messiaen's wife Yvonne Loriod was Aimard's teacher). Interspersed are recordings of Aimard in Ligeti's Piano Etudes and Piano Concerto; plus  excerpts from Messiaen's Quatre études de rythme, Preludes, Vingt Regards and Catalog d'oiseaux.

Later in the week Aimard discusses the musical language of Charles Ives in between movements from the Concord Sonata and song selections performed with Susan Graham. 

Plus: Aimard addresses Spectralism, how Messiaen combats seasickness, French pedagogy and the "Stravinsky Factor."