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MARTINU, B.: Piano Music (Complete), Vol. 6 (Koukl)

Composer(s):Martinů, Bohuslav
Artist(s) Koukl, Giorgio, piano
Period(s) 20th Century
Genre Classical Music
Category Instrumental
Catalogue 8.572024
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps

Giorgio Koukl’s survey of Martinů’s complete piano music has been praised as “a delight” (Gramophone) and “estimable and important” (MusicWeb International). Since the release of Volume 4 (8.570215), several manuscripts of previously unperformed, unknown or lost works have been discovered. While Volume 5 (8.572175) presented six polkas and five waltzes, this disc draws on manuscript sources for Jeux (Games) Series I, Three Lyric Pieces, Evening at the Shore, Song Without Words and the Nocturne, works which deepen both our appreciation of



Review By David Denton,Naxos,June 2009

What a discovery! Long lost, unknown and unperformed manuscripts by Martinu are just coming to light as Giorgio Koukl works his way through the composer’s complete piano music. Here we start with a set of 12 Esquisses and two books of Jeux written by Martinů in Paris, all redolent with the naughtiness that invaded the 1930’s. Jazzy rhythms, unexpected changes in metre, and tunes, that don’t go quite where you expect, bringing infectious jollity. Orchestrate them and you would have a fabulous ballet score. Yes, there is Poulenc, Satie and Stravinsky in there, but who cares when it’s so attractive for the listener. We move back to 1915—when the composer was then twenty-five—for the Three Lyric Pieces, salon music in lovely cameos. The three pieces that make up the 1921 score, Evening at the Shore, have many influences, particularly those of the French Impressionists, while the Nocturne is not a tranquil night piece, but one of weight with a tolling bell as the backdrop. The mood of substance also applies to the Chanson triste, a student work that shows little of the Martinu characteristics that were to follow. Throughout this series the Czech-born pianist, Giorgio Koukl has been a highly persuasive advocate, his playing, even in the most demanding works, being of admirable clarity, and I am sure that if the catalogue were packed with recordings, this would be the one to have. Exceptionally fine piano sound.



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