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The documentary value of this historic first recording is huge: Stockhausen’s Klavierstücke V-XI were all dedicated to Tudor (the first four to Marcelle Mercenier). Although recorded in 1958, the sound is clear and full. These are seminal works, spawning a forest of music, a repertoire reserved only for the bravest.

Tudor was a pianist closely allied to postwar avant-garde composers, yet his performance career was infuriatingly short. He captures perfectly the crystalline pointillism of Stockhausen’s magnificent sound-world (particularly Nos I-IV). Silences resonate with post-Webernian frisson as we enter previously unexplored territory. The pliable, flexible form of Klavierstück XI results in no fewer than four performances (the gap in numbering is because IX and X were completed in 1961). Required listening.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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