Bartok: Works for piano solo 1

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COMPOSERS: Bartok
LABELS: Philips
WORKS: Works for piano solo 1
PERFORMER: Zoltán Kocsis (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 434 104-2 DDD
Bartók’s music did not develop in a straight line and it is harder than many composers’ to pigeon-hole according to period. So the first disc in Kocsis’s projected series of the piano music contains some surprises. Although the Three Hungarian Folk Tunes of 1907 are arranged in a more old-fashioned style than the Six Romanian Dances of 1915, the two Elegies of 1908/9 are by far the most backward-looking, late Romantic pieces on the disc, even though they are not the earliest. The style of the Sonatina is indistinguishable from that of the Romanian Dances, which it follows here, and the most exploratory music is in the 14 Bagatelles of 1908 – highly varied, resourceful and clearly focused little pieces. Even so, the selection as a whole is of rather specialised interest – there are better things to come.

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Kocsis himself could hardly be better. Adrian Jack