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Gilles Vonsattel, piano: 'Shadowlines' - Works of Scarlatti, Messiaen, Webern, Debussy et al.

Album Summary

>Scarlatti, Domenico : Sonata for Harpsichord in A minor, K 3/L 378
>Scarlatti, Domenico : Sonata for Harpsichord in A minor, K 54/L 241
>Scarlatti, Domenico : Sonata for Harpsichord in C major, K 502/L 3
>Messiaen, Olivier : Quatres etudes de rythme
>Webern, Anton : Variations for piano, Op. 27
>Benjamin, George : Shadowlines, 6 canonic preludes for piano
>Messiaen, Olivier : Préludes
>Debussy, Claude : Préludes deuxième livre
>Debussy, Claude : Masques
>Debussy, Claude : D'un cahier d'esquisses
>Debussy, Claude : L'isle joyeuse
Performer Composers

Notes & Reviews:

A "wanderer between worlds" (Lucerne Festival), Swiss-born American pianist Gilles Vonsattel is an artist of extraordinary versatility and originality. Comfortable with and seeking out an enormous range of repertoire, Vonsattel displays a musical curiosity and sense of adventure that has gained him many admirers. Winner of the Naumburg and Geneva competitions as well as a Honens laureate, he has in recent years made his Boston Symphony, Tanglewood, and San Francisco Symphony debuts, while performing recitals and chamber music the US, Japan and the UK and at the Gilmore and Lucerne festivals. His most recent 2014 New York solo recital was hailed as "tightly conceived and passionately performed... a study in intensity" by The New York Times. "Shadowlines", Mr. Vonsattel's second studio recording, is built around composer George Benjamin's large-scale work lending the album its title, and also includes works by Debussy, Messiaen, Scarlatti and Webern.

American Record Guide, May/June 2016
The program is also thoughtful and symmetrical. George Benjamin's canonic, cerebral Shadowlines, for example, seem to grow out of Webern's Variations, especially given the consistency of the performances. Vonsattel is terrific at making abstract patterns come to life, so that normally recondite material like Benjamin and late Webern become accessible. Mr Vonsattel works down the road from me in the wonderful music department of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He studied with Jerome Lowenthal at Juilliard and has won a number of competitions including the Naumburg and Geneva. His program begins with three Scarlatti sonatas - a musical aperitif - and the performances are sprightly and well conceived for the piano.

The rest is thrilling. Webern's piano variations are usually played quite coldly and mechanically. George Benjamin's Shadowlines (2001) is, like Webern, subsumed by canonic writing. His sense of harmony and color is peerless - like his teacher Messiaen, who is represented here by excerpts from his preludes and rhythmic etudes. His phrasing and exquisite timing in D'un Cahier d'Esquisses makes that performance the highlight of the set. Concert-style acoustic with appropriate detail - a perfect sound for this artist's many gifts.



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Works Details

>Scarlatti, Domenico : Sonata for Harpsichord in A minor, K 3/L 378
  • Performer: Gilles Vonsattel (Piano)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1738-1739

>Scarlatti, Domenico : Sonata for Harpsichord in A minor, K 54/L 241
  • Performer: Gilles Vonsattel (Piano)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque

>Scarlatti, Domenico : Sonata for Harpsichord in C major, K 502/L 3
  • Performer: Gilles Vonsattel (Piano)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque

>Messiaen, Olivier : Quatres etudes de rythme :: no 4 Ile de feu II
  • Performer: Gilles Vonsattel (Piano)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1949-1950

>Webern, Anton : Variations for piano, Op. 27
  • Performer: Gilles Vonsattel (Piano)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1935-1936

>Benjamin, George : Shadowlines, 6 canonic preludes for piano
  • Performer: Gilles Vonsattel (Piano)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 58 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2001

>Messiaen, Olivier : Préludes :: Les sons impalpables du rêve
  • Performer: Gilles Vonsattel (Piano)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 29 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1928-1929

>Messiaen, Olivier : Préludes :: Cloches d'angoisse et larmes d'adieu
  • Performer: Gilles Vonsattel (Piano)
  • Running Time: 9 min. 45 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1928-1929

>Debussy, Claude : Préludes deuxième livre :: Feux d'artifice
  • Performer: Gilles Vonsattel (Piano)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1910-1912

>Debussy, Claude : Masques
  • Performer: Gilles Vonsattel (Piano)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 42 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1904

>Debussy, Claude : D'un cahier d'esquisses
  • Performer: Gilles Vonsattel (Piano)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1903

>Debussy, Claude : L'isle joyeuse
  • Performer: Gilles Vonsattel (Piano)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1904