Bartok: Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion

LABELS: Digital Classics
ALBUM TITLE: Bartok’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion.
WORKS: Sonata for Two Pianos
and Percussion
PERFORMER: Georg Solti, Murray Perahia (piano), Evelyn Glennie, David Corkhill (percussion)
How things have changed since 1987. The first part of the television film about the two pianos and percussion is a documentary on the CD recording, with a discreet voice-over by Paul Vaughan, and a lot of discussion, rehearsal, and even analysis of the piece. It does convey something of the humdrum repetitive nature of the recording process: nowadays we’d be more likely to find out about what Solti and Perahia had for breakfast, and where they bought their clothes. But Solti has some well-etched memories of the Sonata, including page-turning for the composer’s wife at the 1938 premiere in Budapest, where he describes the audience reaction as one of ‘cruel neutrality’, adding that he ‘loved the sound and smell of this music’.Both Perahia and Glennie make the point that Solti was very much in control, and you can see him conducting from the piano stool every second that he has a free hand, both in the documentary, and in the complete performance that follows. There’s more energy flowing from him than the rest of the team put together – not bad for a part-time pianist at the age of 75. Martin Cotton