Influences: Ives, Bartok, Messiaen, Bach | Pentatone PTC5186741

Influences: Ives, Bartok, Messiaen, Bach


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Label: Pentatone

Cat No: PTC5186741

Format: SACD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Instrumental

Release Date: 15th March 2019



On her first PENTATONE album, pianist Tamara Stefanovich presents a highly personal selection of solo works by Bach, Bartók, Ives and Messiaen. Influences shows how these extraordinarily original and idiosyncratic composers let themselves be inspired by the exterior world, thereby demonstrating how authenticity comes from looking outside as well as inside.

The repertoire spans from Bach’s embrace of Italian musical elements in his Aria variata alla maniera italiana, Bartók’s incorporation of folk elements in his Improvisations on Hungarian Peasant Songs, and Messiaen’s use of Hindu rhythms in Cantéyodjayâ to the collage of marching bands, sounds of trains and machinery, church hymns, ragtime and blues in Ives’s First Piano Sonata.

In all cases, the exterior influences lead to deeply original and personal sonic galaxies. In that respect, the pieces presented here underline how identity results from a constant dialogue with our surroundings, ever changing and enriching our perceptions of ourselves and the world.


The overall excellence of Tamara Stefanovich’s interpretations is enhanced by a superb multichannel recording characertised by full-bodied ambience and concert-hall realism. Stefanovich voices Ives’s thick and ringing chordal dissonances from the bottom up, taking full measure of the music’s spaciousness and resonant potential. ... In Cantéyodjayâ, Stefanovich takes greater care than many pianists over bringing out dynamic contrasts, observing the composer’s rests and finding melodic shapes within the asymmetric rhythms. The clotted chords ring out with every note firmly in place and thoughtfully voiced. ... If Ives, Bartók and Messiaen reveal Stefanovich’s wide-ranging mastery, the Bach reveals her soul as well.  Jed Distler
Gramophone April 2019
Gramophone Editor's Choice

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