The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music news: Pianist Jeremy Denk proposes an unusual, eclectic, intriguing and appealing program for his Madison concert at the Wisconsin Union Theater

August 2, 2010

By Jacob Stockinger

The young and critically acclaimed pianist Jeremy Denk (below) has sent the Wisconsin Union Theater a proposed program for his recital there on Thursday, April 11, 2011, at 7:30 p.m.

And it’s dilly, with an eclectic and appealing repertoire that runs the gamut from Baroque and Classical and Romantic and contemporary music:

Here it is:

Bach: Toccata in D Major, BWV 912

Bach: Toccata in F-sharp Minor, BWV 910

Liszt : Après une Lecture de Dante: Fantasia quasi Sonata


Ligeti: Etudes Book 1

Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Op. 111

The Ear thinks it is a great mix. But I’m also intrigued to find out why he has programmed  TWO Bach toccatas, pieces that a rarely appear on any piano recitals these days. Perhaps he sees links in them links to or influences on some of the other works.

It also seems like quite an athletic program to me with an especially virtuosic second half.

It sure will test Denk’s range in technical and interpretive abilities.

Wisconsin Union Theater cultural arts director Ralph Russo, who booked Denk, says also knows that Denk — who writes a fine music blog — is willing to give public workshop of blogging about the arts or about what defines co-called “classical” music these days.

Either topic is great with The Ear.

Here is a link to Denk’ own web site with links to his blog “Think Denk” as well as a list of his recordings, his biography and critics’ reviews of his performances:

But I also wonder if he would talk about how he puts together a program — especially one as unusual as he will play here.

Of  course, Denk also performs mainstream works and programs, and he is an avid chamber musician. (Check out his recordings.) You may recall, Denk first appeared here as an accompanist for the superstar violinist Joshua Bell, and he was remarkable.

Here is is, talking and then playing Bach and then performing Ligeti, both of which composers are on his Madison program:

Anyway, what you think of Denk?

And of his program?

And which “workshop” topic most interests you?

The Ear wants to hear.

Posted in Classical music

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