|Artist||Thomas Hell piano|
The Concord Sonata by Charles Ives is without doubt the most iconic American piano sonata. Its epic length (appr. 50 minutes), its extreme technical difficulties and its highly unusual form and writing make it one of the greatest challenges for any performing pianist. Any new recording of it is an event. The sonata’s 4 movements represent figures associated with the Transcendentalism movement: Ralph Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Bronson and Louisa Alcott and Henry David Thoreau. The piece demonstrates Ives' experimental tendencies: much of it is written without barlines, the harmonies are advanced, and in the second movement there is a cluster chord created by depressing the piano's keys with a piece of wood. The piece also amply demonstrates Ives' fondness for musical quotation (especially Beethoven’s 5th).
Pianist Thomas Hell is widely recognised as a specialist of 20th century piano repertoire. He recorded works by Carter, Schoenberg, Dallapiccola, Boulez and the complete Etudes by Ligeti (“a clear frontrunner” Classicstoday.com).