Julien Libeer piano
-French suite no.5
-Out of doors
Harmonia Mundi 902651
It took Julien Libeer’s unfailing intuition, and his in-depth knowledge of piano repertoire, to attempt the linkage highlighted by this recording. Granted, in Bach we observe a brilliant master of all manner of keyboards: organ, harpsichord, clavichord, and in Bartók we hear an extraordinary pianist of great impact. But what do the two have to do with one another?
Beyond their lifelong interest in keyboard instruments of all types (organ, harpsichord, and clavichord in the case of Bach; modern piano as a percussion instrument in the case of Bartók), other shared concerns connect these two giants of classical music who at first glance appear to be polar opposites.
The juxtaposition of the two composers is not the least appeal of this album which also marks Julien Libeer’s first project for harmonia mundi: this ardent advocate of a clear and direct approach deftly combines keen intuition with a sense of formal rigour to bring four masterful examples of the ‘suite’ genre into a dialogue spanning across the centuries that set them apart.