The Devil's Staircase

Who is playing these Ligeti Etudes better than Aimard? I don’t know anybody…perhaps one of you “mofos”?

I’ve never properly listened to these, but other recordings I have to the escalier are by a young Libetta and a recent de la Salle, so he’s at least got competition.

I remember they had me raise an eyebrow when I heard… eh, that young swiss pianist who can sightread in israel, play a few of them two years back or so however. And incidentally, a friend running a concert series wanted him to play them there as well the same year, but they had to replace them with something else since they seemed it’d be too expensive to play them. I’m sure Ligeti would have been delighted knowing he’d have an estate which takes care of copyright and protects him from exploitation without proper reimbursement so carefully after his death.

Piemontesi is the name

Yeah he’s a good pianist, I like his playing.

This particular Etude - I love how Kozhukhin played this live, back in 2013 or so.
He really is one of my favorite pianists that I’ve heard live.

The Ullen set is also good. I haven’t heard all of it, but what I have heard has been good.

Thanks all, I will explore the recordings of these pianists

His set is insane, Some of his tempi feel borderline impossible to me (often ruining it for me)

Randomly I started working on some of these a few months back. Some of the most interesting music I’ve tried out the past years, can really recommend it to everyone to really dig into one or two of Them

These were all the rage 10-15 years ago. I remember eagerly awaiting for the etudes 16-18 to be published, and then being quite let down. Aimard’s set is still considered the gold standard, though at this point there are a LOT of Escalier du Diables out there that are much more furious. Don’t remember the performers, though. Ullen’s recs of 14/15 are brutal, he is a Sorabji/Xenakis sort of guy, so you can trust him. Idil Biret also did a set; weak in the harder ones but I would still check them out, some are quite interesting.

Surprised anything besides No. 6 and No. 13 have survived, not super great music IMO (though I am personally partial to 3/4 as well, as well as Vertige and Fem).

This is pretty beastly:

Happy New Year ZKEP!

Yeah, I agree. Without knowing them particularly well my favourite Ligeti is rather the Musica Ricercata.

I checked Piemontesi by the way, and the studies he played which I liked were the 2nd and 12th - Cordes à vide and Entrelacs. It’s not a must hear, but I can upload the broadcast if anyone is curious.

Francesco Piemontesi
FrPi#003. April 28, 2014: Brussels, Belgium (Radio Broadcast | Mp3128)

• Mozart: Piano Sonata No.15 in F major, K.533 & K.494
• Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.30 in E major, Op.109

• Ligeti: 18 Etudes
o 2. Cordes à vide
o 12. Entrelacs
• Debussy: 12 Préludes, Book I
o 6. Des pas sur la neige
o 11. La danse de Puck
• Schubert: Piano Sonata No.19 in C minor, D.958

• Debussy: Feux d’artifice (Préludes, Book II No.12)
• Debussy: La fille aux cheveux de lin (Préludes, Book I No.8)

I’m wondering why Hamelin didn’t play Ligeti? That could be really good.

Re: Hamelin/Ligeti … ti&f=false

I agree with Anima, several of these Ligeti Etudes are extremely impressive and interesting - it’s my impression that some of them should be part of the standard ‘canon’ of artistic piano Etudes. My favourite one is “Automne à Varsovie”, clearly with some Chopin influences. I also worked on “Fanfares” a bit, it’s great fun and very well written for piano. I heard Aimard play them at a concert a long time ago and since them I’m a fan of these pieces.

I really love these Etudes. All of them. I think they are really great, and deserve to be part of the standard repertoire.

Re Hamelin/Ligeti:

MAH: Well, if I thought the metronome marking was right and I couldn’t do it, I just wouldn’t play the piece.

EI: Have you ever run into that problem?

MAH: Not necessarily because of tempo, but maybe for other reasons. I really liked Ligeti’s first etude, and I started to work on it, but it seemed like I was lacking another brain, because the bar lines start to stagger and shift. But I think it’s just that I didn’t practice long enough for the light bulb to go and for me to really get used to it. Perhaps if I had re-barred the music, I would have had a much easier time with it. But that’s one case where I just abandoned the piece. Another one was the Boulez Second Sonata, which I didn’t want to finish because the rhythmic complexities were too much for me.

Yuya Wang:

Autumn in Warsaw is the only piece I’ve ever given up on. So I guess I’m standing equal with Hamelin :dong:

Ligeti and Lutoslawski I think are unique in how the manage a C20th sound (broadly speaking) yet appeal to the masses.

The reason why 4 is so popular is really because it’s so easy. Or well, compared to the other ones I guess. I was surprised with how quick I learned it and it has a really low threshold when you start learning it, unlike so many others.

I’d love to learn Autumn, but it’s so damn long to read. Would need to analyse it properly first.

As awesome as l’escalier is, some of it feels really cheap. Not sure if I’d wanna learn the whole thing.

No 4 might be popular because it is COMPARATIVELY easy, but I still think it is a great piece. Maybe not the best one, but I like the ostinato and the cool rhythm

Excuuuuse me mr better Englishing Mephisto :slight_smile:

Yeah, it’s also really fun to play. Still remember how awesome it felt once the 7 vs 8 clicked