Volume 7 of Jenö Jandó's series on Naxos of the piano music of Béla Bartók presents the Fourteen Bagatelles and the Nine Little Piano Pieces, along with a handful of uncollected pieces, including the shortened version of the Rhapsody, Op. 1. The Bagatelles are experimental and aphoristic, each built on one or two simple ideas and designed with jewel-like precision, lasting in most cases under two minutes. Within these strictures, Bartók worked out problems of composition and technique in miniature forms that anticipate the short pieces in the pedagogic cycle, Mikrokosmos. The Nine Little Piano Pieces were written for Bartók's own use as a recitalist, and they show his interest in Baroque keyboard music, which was similar to the aims of Stravinsky, Hindemith, and other neo-classical composers. These sets, and the remaining miniatures, are played with vitality and clarity by Jandó, who has been recording Bartók's music for more than a decade on the Naxos label. Coming as it does toward the end of this project, this CD has a bit of a catch-all feeling, and may not seem as essential as Jandó's previous releases of Mikrokosmos, For Children, or Out of Doors. But anyone who wants to appreciate all of Bartók's piano music should consider filling out the entire series while it is available.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Fourteen Bagatelles, BB 50, Sz. 38, Op. 6|
|Nine Little Piano Pieces, BB 90, Sz. 82|
|Three Piano Pieces, D. 45/1|
|Three Piano Pieces, D. 53/2|
|Three Piano Pieces, D. 53/1|