Les Piandos de la Nuit: Zoltán Kocsis: Beethoven

COMPOSERS: Bartok,Beethoven,Kurtag,Liszt,Schubert
PERFORMER: Zoltán Kocsis


Of nearly 90 pianists who took part in the 2002 La Roque d’Anthéron International Piano Festival in Provence, eight gave short recitals (from one hour to 90 minutes) filmed live in partnership with Idéale Audience International. Later the films were shown theatrically, and are now brought out by Naïve as individual DVD releases.

A remarkable recital by Zoltán Kocsis juxtaposes Liszt’s nationalist and cryptic late styles (including the Fifth Hungarian Rhapsody and Csárdás macabre) with cannily selected miniatures by Bartók (For Children) and Kurtág (excerpts from Games, dedicated to Kocsis).

The pianist also bridges Beethoven’s transitional, pre-late-period style (the E minor Op. 90 Sonata) with early Schubert (two movements from his own Sonata in that same key, D566) into Bartók’s thorny yet concise three-movement Sonata.


János Darvas’s camerawork occasionally lets us glimpse Kúrtag’s handwritten score from which Kocsis plays, and captures the pianist’s calm, focused body language, prism-like sonority and elegantly proportioned phrasing. BBC Music Magazine Direct call for prices