> Myroslav Gutej - Piano Sonatas [RB]: Classical CD Reviews- Aug 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Myroslav GUTEJ (b. 1961)
Piano Sonatas No. 1 (1991); No. 3 (1991); No. 4 (1995); No. 5 (1995); No. 6 (1995); No. 7 (1996)
Myroslav Gutej (piano)
KWA RECORDS no number [45.24]



Gutej was born in Perth, West Australia and began playing the piano at age of nine. His piano tutors were Brian Michell, David Bollard (who has recorded several Australian concertos) and Roger Smalley. During his time at the University of Western Australia he became intrigued by Eastern European folk music and this glimmers through his piano writing most particularly in the works from 1995 onwards. Serious hand injuries and illness prevented him from playing the piano from 1987 to 1990. On the evidence of this disc he seems to have made a complete recovery or wins his fluency through dedication defeating physical barriers. Quite apart from his solo piano output he has written a mass for choir and orchestra and a symphony. These are works I would like to hear.

The First Sonata is the most classically orientated piece here. It is redolent of Haydn, Mozart and early primitivistic American folkmusic. The Third Sonata pummels away in the manner of the Prokofiev wartime sonatas. The Fourth can suggest Nyman but also Boulez especially in the second and last movement. The Fifth is a luxuriant blooming between Ravel, Sorabji and Medtner and oriental voicings from the Hovhaness wellspring. The Sixth is of thinner growth with some chimingly charming soft dissonances. The Seventh Sonata is a micro-structure if ever there was one. Its three movements encompass less than two minutes! All save numbers 3 and 4 are in three movements.

This disc introduces a composer of evidently sincere motivation who takes to tonality like a duck to water. We could have done with more music.

If my references to Medtner, Prokofiev, Sorabji and Ravel have piqued your interest then do not hesitate. You will find this a treat.

Rob Barnett

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