Schubert sonatas

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Piano solo and duet
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Introducing Eva Kára
Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Suite, Op.14
Alberto GINASTERA (1916-1983) Piano Sonata No.1
Eva Kára, piano
Rec. 'live', Whiteley Hall, Chetham's School of Music, Manchester, 29 August 2004, Fourth Chetham's International Summer School and Festival for Pianists.

This is a recording of a live performance at Chethamís International Summer School and Festival for Pianists in Manchester on 29th August, 2004. Eva Kára is Hungarian, a great-great-great-grand pupil of Liszt; her interests however extend to 20th Century music. On the evidence of this disc she is a fine musician with an accomplished technique. She plays first one of the major piano works of her compatriot Béla Bartók, whose Suite begins moderately quickly and in dance rhythm, a movement which leads to a Scherzo, flirting (but very rhythmically) with twelve note ideas, then to a fierce Allegro Molto, reminiscent of the Allegro Barbaro of some years before. It ends with a relatively long, very sustained movement of considerable beauty, deeply felt in this reading. It is tantalising that Bartók composed another slow movement (lost or perhaps destroyed), originally second of the then five. Would this have made the Suite better or less well balanced?

Ginastera was Argentinian, whose music reached Europe around 1950. This Sonata dates from 1952 and its lively invention repays close study. An Allegro Marcato, beautifully crisp and clearly argued here, leads to a scherzo-type movement which begins mysteriously with an all-pervasive kind of five finger exercise and a repeated note figure, both strikingly developed. The slow movement is chromatic and for the most part sparse in texture; it has a good advocate in Ms Káraís poised reading. In the finale the repeated note figures and strongly marked rhythms are back, and excitingly so.

This disc is of a live performance but I am not aware of any audience noise; the recording is fairly close, the sound full-bodied and natural. Though short (just under 30 minutes) the disc is recommendable both as a memento of a notable occasion and memorable interpretations of two contrasting 20th Century works.

Philip L. Scowcroft

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