25 Songs, 1 Hour 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Has one musician ever tried to tell the 700-year story of Western music in a single span before? It’s a feat achieved here by pianist Jeremy Denk in 25 pieces. Obviously the medieval ones were written for voices, with the virginals and harpsichord coming later, but sensitive transcription to piano brings a consistent sound. The choice of pieces was always going to be controversial, as Denk acknowledges, but his journey from Machaut and Binchois stops by many peaks of the repertoire—Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy—to end with Stockhausen, Glass, and Ligeti, taking in the rise and fall of tonality along the way. Fascinating and rewarding.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Has one musician ever tried to tell the 700-year story of Western music in a single span before? It’s a feat achieved here by pianist Jeremy Denk in 25 pieces. Obviously the medieval ones were written for voices, with the virginals and harpsichord coming later, but sensitive transcription to piano brings a consistent sound. The choice of pieces was always going to be controversial, as Denk acknowledges, but his journey from Machaut and Binchois stops by many peaks of the repertoire—Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy—to end with Stockhausen, Glass, and Ligeti, taking in the rise and fall of tonality along the way. Fascinating and rewarding.

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