Magazine article Gramophone

'Splinters' Bartok Three Burlesques

Magazine article Gramophone

'Splinters' Bartok Three Burlesques

Article excerpt

'Splinters'

Bartok Three Burlesques, Sz47 Csapo The Ultimate Goal Jeney Arthur Rimbaud in the Desert. Ricercare Kodaly Meditation sur un motif de Claude Debussy. Seven Pieces Kurtag Splinters, Op 6c Lajtha ... de l'automne et du champ ..., Op 2 No 10 Ligeti Etudes--Fern Mariann Marczi pf Odradek [F] ODRCD307 (69' * DDD)

'Splinters' couldn't be more appropriate a name for pianist Mariann Marczi's collection of Hungarian piano pieces that are generally thorny, brief and sometimes aphoristic in nature, such as the four-movement suite by Kurtag that opens the disc. This leads into 'Fern' from Ligeti's second book of Etudes, where Marczi's crisp, hard-hitting interpretation differs from Aimard's faster, suaver dispatch (Sony, 1/97). She builds Kodaly's Meditation from the sustained bass-line upwards, and makes as compelling a case as any for the same composer's Seven Pieces; listen to her marvellous differentiation between the steady staccato left hand and the edgy legato right-hand line. The 10th piece of Laszlo Lajtha's Contes, Op 2, receives a slightly drier and more incisive reading compared alongside Klara Kormendi's more expansive and sensuous traversal (Marco Polo, 4/93--Marczi plays the opening measure considerably faster, for example).

Marczi brings such feathery lightness and rhythmic sparkle to Bartok's Three Burlesques that it's easy to forget her idiomatic phrasing and accentuation of the folk-based melodies. Of the two Zoltan Jeney works, I prefer the painfully sparse Arthur Rimbaud in the Desert (if you respond to John Cage's late 'number' pieces, you'll probably like this) over the grey, austere and frankly dull Ricercare. …

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