This solo Queen's Hall recital was the last of his three concerts at the Festival; together they brought home Aimard's extraordinary breadth, diligence, fearless physical stamina and (above all) musical integrity. His playing can be technically ferocious and expressively flamboyant, but there's nothing remotely showy in what he does: it's always about the music, never about Aimard himself.
This final programme paired 12 Ligeti Etudes with 12 Debussy Préludes in a continuous to-and-fro. It was a fascinating arrangement that made each composer sound as inventive, playful and profound as the other. Aimard plotted a careful trajectory of mood and character through the 24 pieces, from Debussy's stately Voiles and Ligeti's reverent Galamb Borong to Debussy's spry Danse de Puck and Ligeti's lopsidedly sparky Fanfares; from the wintry palette of Debussy's Des pas sir la Neige and Ligeti's cool Cordes à Vide to the heavy pathos of Ligeti's Autumne à Varsovie.
Unsurprisingly, the two soundworlds began to merge and cross-filter. Aimard brought out a darker kind of gravitas than you might expect in Debussy and a more sumptuous harmonic tapestry than you might associate with Ligeti. At the end of the final Etude, L'escalier du Diable, he held down the sustain pedal for what seemed like an age, out of which gradually emerged the low, resolute grumble of a simple major triad. After all that had come before it was a deeply moving close.