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ALLA BREVE

October 25, 1987|HARLOW ROBINSON

IVAN MORAVEC: PIANO MUSIC OF SMETANA, KORTE, SUK. Elektra/Nonesuch Digital 79146-1. A congenial, undemanding potpourri from three generations of Czech composers--Bedrich Smetana, Joseph Suk and Oldrich Frantisek Korte--played by a Czech pianist, and recorded live in Prague. With the possible exception of Korte's Piano Sonata, which has somewhat higher, and largely unfulfilled, aspirations, the collection might be subtitled "Music to Drink Beer By." In Moravec's hands, Suk's sentimental "Love Song" oozes with just the right amount of rubato; his "Humoreska" is appropriately sprightly. Devoted to Smetana--"Poetic Polka," selections from Czech Dances and "Souvenir of Pilsen"-- Side Two thumps with the folksy dance rhythms of a Bohemian village. Moravec--precise, controlled but never dispassionate--wields a brilliant tone and resists Romantic excess. Coughing and applause transport us to December 18, 1984, at Prague's House of Artists.

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