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Víkingur Ólafsson, 'Kleine Gigue in G Major, K. 574'


Courtesy of the artist

If you think of Mozart as the giggling savant from the film Amadeus, Víkingur Ólafsson is here to change your mind. On his new album Mozart & Contemporaries, the Icelandic pianist juxtaposes Mozart's music with that of his peers for fresh new contexts. Ólafsson displays a darker, more serious side of Mozart and includes out-of-the-way gems, like this curious "Little Gigue" that Mozart tossed off for a friend while visiting Leipzig in May of 1789. It's odd that while Mozart wrote it in J.S. Bach's adopted hometown and uses a form the master championed, the music doesn't sound like Bach. And it doesn't actually sound much like Mozart either. With bold harmonies, pointillist texture and winding rhythms, this gigue offers — in less than two minutes — a distinctly modern sound that looks toward the future.

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