You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe


Music Review

With Denk, disparate ideas find common ground

At the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on Sunday, Jeremy Denk — pianist, writer, thinker, and recent recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” fellowship — while acknowledging his predilection for programs with a theme (“or, if you’re feeling less charitable,” he said, “a shtick”), insisted that the afternoon’s recital was simply a collection of pieces that he loves. But affection creates its own web of correspondences. Denk’s choices revealed a fascination for works in which disparate and even contradictory ideas and moods could find common ground in sheer musicality.

Two sonatas by Mozart explored variances without and within. In the F major Sonata (K. 533/494), the ideas were historical: backward-glancing, Bach-like counterpoint woven into envelope-pushing harmonies. Denk correspondingly adopted a 17th-century touch — crisp, close-up, clavichord-like — but 19th-century phrasing, the tempo in constant, subtle fluctuation, keyed to Mozart’s slippery shifts of mode: major-key lift and minor-key ballast in tensile parity.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week