A Between the Keys Recital September 28 & 29
“For this week’s program, I’ve put together a kind of mini-recital,,” says Jed Distler, who is The Classical Network’s Artist-in-Residence and the creator, producer and host of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Virgil Thomson Award winning weekly program Between the Keys.
The show begins with Roger Woodward’s Shostakovich, followed Jan Bartos playing the Janacek Sonata. A scorching, idiosyncratic yet always gripping 1961 live performance of Beethoven’s Sonata No. 31 in A-flat Major Op. 110 features Webster Aitken (1908-1981), a legendary and somewhat shadowy piano luminary.
“Aitken fascinates me,” Distler says. “This pianist gained attention in the 1930s for his advocacy of Schubert. He also premiered Elliott Carter’s 1945 Piano Sonata." Aitken made relatively few recordings, although a good number of live performances survive, such as the aforementioned Op. 110.
"I first heard about this Op. 110 from reading a review by my late friend and fellow pianist/writer Harris Goldsmith." Distler recalls that Goldsmith absolutely trashed the performance, hating every minute of it. "But when I finally got hold of the recording, I actually had the opposite reaction! I was totally engrossed by Aitken's intensity, his willingness to take risks, and the sense of both struggle and triumph that one invariably takes away from Beethoven."
Tune in to Between the Keys on Tuesday night September 28th at 10, with a rebroadcast Wednesday September 29th at noon, exclusively on The Classical Network and WWFM.org.