Glass: Piano Works

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Glass: Piano Works
Víkingur Ólafsson (piano) / Siggi String Quartet

[ Deutsche Grammophon / CD ]

Release Date: Monday 1 May 2017

This is a tribute to the master of minimal music, legendary Philip Glass, who turned 80 on 31.01.2017. In 2016 Philip Glass handpicked some pianists to perform all of his Etudes together at the Barbican in London. Víkingur Ólafsson was one of them and according to the press he was "the highlight of the evening" (Sean and Heard International). The Financial Times claimed: "Best of all was Ólafsson in the supersensitive stillness of Etude 5". Víkingur Ólafsson is an up-and-coming visionary pianist not only of technical sublimity but also of remarkable entrepreneurial abilities. Besides his growing career as a traditional concert pianist Víkingur Ólafsson has also collaborated with a range of contemporary composers and artists like Olafur Arnalds and Björk.

"Ólafsson's interpretations inhabit a unique, distinct and extraordinary world all their own...[he] possesses that rare gift of illuminating a familiar work in unexpected ways, revealing hidden depths and drawing out its best qualities...In Glass's music, each repetition is enriched by subtle changes in colour, voice-leading and articulation, as if Ólafsson were continually refreshing the page on his musical server." Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice, April 2017

"With perfectly chosen tempi, Víkingur Ólaffson's playing combines late-romantic expressiveness, without too much rubato messing around, with the beating-heart-of-the-big-city energy which is exactly what this music needs. This kind of beautifully slick production won't change the anti-Glass lobby's mind in any way, but for fans this will be a juicy treat in which to wallow for a long time to come." (MusicWeb)

"I am very envious to know of what Glass has thought of Ólafsson's interpretations-for they go further, with what I sense are each very personal interpretations in each track. He is not playing slave to what the composer himself already has recorded, but is instead un-earthing new potential in these pieces. They go as far as is possible, I believe, from coming across as "MIDI files." And for those on the fence with Glass's compositional style, this recording may just win over new converts to one of America's most celebrated living composers." ( ****1/2)


Opening from 'Glassworks'
Etude No. 9
Etude No. 2
Piano Etude No. 6
Piano Etude No. 5
Etude No. 14
Etude No. 2
(reworked by Christian Badzura)
Etude No. 13
Etude No. 15
Etude No. 3
Piano Etude No. 18
Piano Etude No. 20
Opening from 'Glassworks'
(reworked by Christian Badzura)

Víkingur Ólafsson - Philip Glass: Piano Works - About the Man & Composer Philip Glass