Magazine article Gramophone

Smetana: Czech Dances-Book 1

Magazine article Gramophone

Smetana: Czech Dances-Book 1

Article excerpt

Smetana

Czech Dances--Book 1; Book 2. On the Seashore: A Reminiscence Garrick Ohlsson pf Hyperion (F) CDA68062 (62' * DDD)

Just when you think that Garrick Ohlsson finally has all bases covered--from such staples as a complete Chopin cycle and all the Beethoven sonatas, through the Russians to interesting Liszt, unusual Americans, Debussy and Bartok, Granados and the Weber sonatas--he strikes out in a new direction. His most recent musical passport stamp is from the Bohemian lands, where he's been exploring Smetana.

The earliest of these works is On the Seashore, recalling the waves near Gothenburg during Smetana's Swedish sojourn. Ohlsson's evocation of the lapping waves is subtle, giving the musical imagery its full, colourfully vivid due without overstatement. The varied characters of the four polkas constituting the first book of Czech Dances are aptly delineated. A large part of the flavours in these readings derives from the aplomb with which Ohlsson negotiates tempo fluctuations within individual dances, as if to the manner born. …

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