Jeremy Denk | Symphony Center | Classical | Chicago Reader

Jeremy Denk Recommended All Ages Soundboard Image

When: Sun., Nov. 13, 3 p.m. 2016

In recent years Jeremy Denk has left no doubt that he’s one of the most formidable and unique classical pianists at work, a musician of great flair, precision, and humor who routinely makes interesting programming choices. This weekend’s solo recital is no exception. Denk tackles venerable works from Beethoven (Sonata in D Minor, op. 31, no. 2), Mozart (Sonata in A Minor), and Schubert (Fantasy in C Major)—the kind of choices we’d expect—but also Phrygian Gates, the earliest serious piece in the career of contemporary composer John Adams. Written for pianist Sarah Cahill and completed in 1978, this minimalist marvel features rhythmically driving cells that develop slowly but inexorably, while subtle melodic patterns and a neo-Romantic blush distinguish it from the hard-core formalism of the composers who inspired it, Steve Reich and Philip Glass. On paper the idea of placing the Adams work alongside those other composers seems a bit odd, but it’s exactly the sort of pairing that makes a Denk performance something to both learn from and luxuriate within.

Peter Margasak

Price: $21-$75, $15 students

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