NIELS VIGGO BENTZON (1919-2000): From The Tempered Piano: Preludes and Fugues in all 24 major and minor keys.
Catalogue Number: 09V048
Description: Apparently it is no longer possible to buy the composer’s own monumental set of these pieces, which he described as his musical will and testament, except very expensively as downloads, but this well thought out program selected for the quality and character of the individual pieces and the dramaturgy of the sequence. The pianist worked extensively on these and other pieces with Bentzon, and his cycle of 24 pieces showcases the enormous expressive range, superb quality of piano writing (Bentzon was, after all, a pianist of significant stature), and stylistic consistency of works written over a period of three decades. The Preludes and Fugues run the gamut from frantic and aggressive through puckish and playful or monumental and imposing, to melancholy and sombre, and the composer’s widely varied treatment of fugue, as texture or form, as tribute to Bach or displaying more modern preoccupations, is a fascinating feature of these pieces. Bentzon's treatment of tonality, form and pianistic expression, to say nothing of his creative fecundity, place him in the front rank of 20th century composer-pianists, and these wonderful pieces, far too long neglected (and apparently, mostly unpublished!) deserve to be much better known. Per Salo (piano).