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Martinu was an immensely prolific and varied composer with an impressive list of orchestral compositions including six symphonies and five piano concertos.
The three works for piano and orchestra on this disc span twenty years of the Czech composer’s peripatetic career, from the Concertino (Paris, 1938) to the Third Piano Concerto (New York, 1948) and the Fifth Piano Concerto (Schönenberg, Pratteln, Switzerland 1958).
As with his complete solo piano music, also available on Naxos, Martinu’s immediately recognisable style here combines shimmering virtuosity and impressionistic effects, motoric rhythms and pristine harmonies.
Bohuslav Martinu: Piano Concerto No. 3, H. 316
II. Andante poco moderato
III. Moderato - Allegro
Bohuslav Martinu: Piano Concerto No. 5, H. 366, "Fantasia concertante"
I. Poco allegro risoluto
II. Poco andante
III. Poco allegro
Bohuslav Martinu: Piano Concertino, H. 269
I. Allegro moderato (Comodo)
“No 3, with its occasional flashes of Brahmsian or even late-Mozartian sonorities, has never sounded lighter or more vivacious than here. In the Fifth, which has often sounded mechanical in previous recordings, the music leaps off the page. Koukl receives splendid support from the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra of Zlín under Arthur Fagen and Naxos's sound is first rate, clear and bright with the right balance between soloist and orchestra. Warmly recommended.”
“Giorgio Koukl understands the ebb and flow of these volatile works well and is certainly up to their technical demands. His strong sense of line is particularly impressive in the faster movements.”
“an auspicious debut [and] extremely well played”
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