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

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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Tom Huizenga is a producer for NPR Music. He contributes a wide range of stories about classical music to NPR's news programs and is the classical music reviewer for All Things Considered. He appears regularly on NPR Music podcasts and founded NPR's classical music blog Deceptive Cadence in 2010.
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