Twenty-First Century Piano Problems
Pascal Dusapin's etudes and the limits of piano technique
Monday, September 23, 2013
The early modernists had Claude Debussy, the post-war György Ligeti, and the twenty-first century may very well point to the French master Pascal Dusapin as the torchbearer for reinventing the technical capabilities and sonic potential of the piano.
This week on Hammered! tune in for all seven of Dusapin's piano etudes performed by the brilliant Vanessa Wagner, to whom many of the etudes were dedicated. Each study explores—and seemingly exhausts—a specific pianistic potentiality, like "trills", or "ornamentation", etc., and stand as some of the most original, virtuosic, and colorful music composed this century.
Filling out the week is music foreshadowing or echoing the techniques used in each etude, including music by Alexander Scriabin (the late opus 74 Preludes and Tenth Sonata), Conlon Nancarrow (a selection of Player Piano Studies), Stefan Wolpe (the expansive Toccata), Claude Debussy, Magnus Lindberg, Elliott Carter, and many others.
The week culminates Friday with Dusapin's monumental piano concerto A Quia, performed by the pianistic superhuman, Ian Pace.