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Karol (Carol) MIKULI (1819-1897)
48 Roumanian Folk Tunes (arr. for piano)
Book 1 [15:16]
Book 2 [12:59]
Book 3 [10:14]
Book 4 [12:39]
Reinhard Piechocki (piano)
rec. 2011-12
AHS RECORDS (no number) [51:15]

It is a pleasing thing to come across a passion and someone who is willing to take a risk to make it public when normal channels have not done so. This is the case with the piano music of Karol Mikuli a pupil of Chopin who later became his teaching assistant and an authority on Chopin. He dedicated himself to ensuring that as many reliable performing editions as possible were available.
 
Mikuli’s background is a perfect illustration of the vicissitudes of history and geography since he was born in Czerniowce part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, now Chernivtsi, Ukraine. That said, he is regarded as Polish with Moldavian and Armenian ancestry. This recording is thought to be a world première recording and was made by biologist Reinhard Piechocki. It is to be hoped that this will filter through to the music establishment at large and someone else will also take the music up.
 
Mr Piechocki would be the first to admit that he is not a professional and not the best person to advance the reputation of Karol Mikuli. Sometimes it takes a decision to release a disc such as this before others are prompted to take up the cause. He is therefore to be congratulated on his enterprise.
 
The music is simple but effective and traces of the original material are to be found in the music of people like Enescu and Bartók. That said, it should be pointed out that Mikuli was busy collecting folk music from the Bukowina, Bessarabia and Moldavia fifty years before Bartók made his collections. There is something very satisfying about folk-inspired music wherever it is from since it is completely honest in its roots and embodies a people’s history.
 
These pieces are charming and were originally written for orchestra. In which form I can easily imagine that they would sound even more exciting just as Enescu’s Roumanian Rhapsodies do. It is clear that Reinhard Piechocki’s piano needs some attention - perhaps tuning might be enough - since it does sound a little ‘tinny’ but he deserves full marks for his endeavours.
 
The music is well worth exploring and anyone who is intrigued to hear more can contact him by email: reinhard.piechocki@t-online.de
 
Steve Arloff 


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