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ALLA BREVE

January 11, 1987|ALLAN ULRICH

BARTOK: "ALLEGRO BARBARO"; THREE RONDOS ON FOLK TUNES; THREE HUNGARIAN FOLK TUNES; SUITE, OPUS 14; SONATA; RUMANIAN FOLK DANCES; OLD DANCE SONGS. Zoltan Kocsis, piano. Denon 33C37-7813 (compact disc). In this survey of his countryman's most appealing piano works (all written between 1911-27), Kocsis does not stint on the aggressive attacks or propulsive rhythmic contours Bartok demands. But Kocsis often tempers steel with velvet, suggesting a not inapt kinship with Debussy, perhaps as much an influence here as the vast central European folk literature so artfully commemorated by the composer. The largest piece, the 1926 Sonata, emerges as a wondrous example of musical architecture, rather than as a succession of reiterated dissonances. Although Denon recorded this recital a decade ago in Japan, the sonics are every bit as engaging as the performance.

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