“Three years ago, the pianist Jeremy Denk was asked to put together a recital for the annual White Light Festival at Lincoln Center,” writes David Hajdu in Friday’s (3/15) Nation. “The idea he came up with could have been titled ‘The History of Western Classical Music in About 100 Minutes.’ Denk selected 23 works (or combinations of works) composed over a span of some 700 years, from the medieval era to the arrival of the third millennium, and performed them in chronological order in one concert…. After fine-tuning the program in venues around the world … Denk recorded a version for release by Nonesuch Records this past February as c. 1300–c. 2000 … an undertaking of extraordinary daring…. Denk leads us through the historical progression of Western classical composition, from the Renaissance (Byrd, Monteverdi) to the Baroque (Bach, Scarlatti), the Classical (Mozart, Beethoven), and the Romantic (Chopin, Schumann, Liszt), from Impressionism (Debussy) to Modernism (Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Stockhausen) and to the brink of the 21st century (Ligeti, Glass). There’s a welcome peppering of gifted composers of early music … such as Johannes Ockeghem, Clément Janequin, and Carlo Gesualdo…. The selections come together to tell a compelling and unexpectedly moving story.”

Posted March 20, 2019