Zoltán Kocsis

Béla Bartók: Works for Piano Solo, Vol. 4

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Hungarian-born pianist Zoltán Kocsis' name is virtually synonymous with Bartók's solo piano music. His original 1992 recording for Philips of the complete solo piano works (an immense undertaking by any standard) has been reissued several times, including the present compilation on the Hungaraton label. While being reissued does not automatically guarantee an album is of magnificent quality, in this case it is. This installment, Volume Four of the series, focuses on pieces written circa 1912 when Bartók had all but put himself into musical exile, concentrating almost exclusively on composition. Specifically, Bartók was working at a feverish pace on transcribing and researching the musical folklore of his native Hungary. The result is an album filled with extremely short musical examples, more than 50 tracks with the majority clocking in at less than two minutes. To Kocsis' credit, these brief offerings never come across as choppy or disjointed. His playing, replete with intricate nuance, an endless supply of tone colors, extraordinary control over voicing, and a broad dynamic range. Listeners who have not had the pleasure of hearing any of Kocsis' Bartók will soon learn why his albums have been released so frequently and why they consistently garner high praise. Coupled with crystal-clear sound quality and an in-depth set of liner notes, it's difficult to imagine a more comprehensive, pleasing set of these works.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
2:34
Romanian Christmas Carols, pieces (20) in 2 series for piano, Sz. 57, BB 67
2
0:29
3
0:14
4
0:33
5
0:35
6
0:28
7
0:24
8
0:34
9
0:44
10
0:18
11
0:17
12
0:34
13
0:21
14
0:29
15
0:33
16
0:35
17
0:48
18
0:57
19
0:35
20
0:27
21
0:48
Romanian Folk Dances (6) (Román népi táncok), for piano, Sz. 56, BB 68
22
1:04
23
0:30
24
0:54
25
1:23
26
0:27
27
0:57
Sonatina for piano (on Romanian folk tunes), Sz. 55, BB 69
28
1:35
29
0:36
30
1:49
Suite for piano, Sz. 62, BB 70 (Op. 14)
31
1:48
32
1:42
33
1:57
34
2:42
Hungarian Peasant Songs (15) for piano, Sz. 71, BB 79
35
0:47
36
1:51
37
0:39
38
0:59
39
0:52
40
2:32
41
0:38
42
0:30
43
0:13
44
0:25
45
0:54
46
1:02
47
0:32
48
1:34
Hungarian Folk Tunes (3), for piano, Sz. 66, BB 80b
49
1:00
50
1:06
51
1:46
Studies (3) (Etudök) for piano, Sz. 72, BB 81 (Op. 18)
52
2:09
53
2:58
54
2:07
Rondos (3) on Slovak Folktunes, for piano, Sz. 84, BB 92
55
2:55
56
2:34
57
2:41
58
1:42
blue highlight denotes track pick