The most distinctive element in pianist David Greilsammer's recital of music from the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries is the way he organizes the pieces. In the program notes he writes that he wanted the pieces to "converse, confide in one another, sometimes intertwine." At the center of the program is Mozart's great Fantasy in C minor, and the pieces by the other composers are flanked around it. The other composers are each represented by two pieces, one played before the Mozart and one following it, but with the ones played after it reversed in order, so the Mozart is nested within concentric circles. The Mozart is set between two Cage sonatas for prepared piano, then movements of the Janácek Sonata; movements from Ligeti's Musica Ricercata; movements from Schoenberg's Six Little Pieces, Op. 19; two of Brahms' Fantasies, Op. 116; new works by Jonathan Keren, with the set opening with the Fantasy from Bach's Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue in D minor, and closing with the Fugue. The program could have come off merely as a clever conceit, but Greilsammer's choices are remarkably astute, and the whole recital has an astonishing sense of flow and inexorability. His playing is equal to his vision; he negotiates the technical demands of this diverse repertoire with complete assurance and has the broad expressive range to make each piece shine individually, as well as part of his larger plan. Greilsammer is particularly dazzling in the Bach; he plays with breathtaking freedom and amazing fluidity. The pieces by Keren, written especially for the album, are attractive additions to the repertoire, reminiscent of the energy and language of Ligeti's Études (which are nothing at all like the early Musica Ricercata excerpts recorded here). Naïve's sound is ideal: clean and well-defined, with intimacy and presence. This unique recital should be of strong interest to any fans of virtuosic playing and innovative programming.
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