Ivo Kahánek

Leos Janácek, Bohuslav Martinu, Miloslav Kabelác: Piano Works

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This excellent Supraphon program contains three of the key works of twentieth century Czech nationalism -- Janácek's Sonata 1.X.1905, Kabelác's Eight Preludes, and Martinu's Sonata -- plus a world-premiere encore of three early unpublished fugues by Janácek. The sound is excellent in every register, and the playing of young Czech pianist Ivo Kahánek is outstanding. He has a bravura technique, an extremely flexible tone, a singing sense of phrasing, and a clear understanding of every work on the program. In Janácek's sonata, Kahánek delivers a burning account with tremendous drive. In Martinu's Sonata, Kahánek turns in rapturous reading of aching lyrical beauty and enormous rhythmic strength. And in the nearly unknown Eight Preludes by Kabelác, Kahánek finds more beauty, mystery, and mastery than most pianists find in Debussy's Preludes. Even the three early fugues by Janácek come off less as immature and uncharacteristic than as youthful and individualistic. Though not perhaps for everyone -- there may be those who find the recherché repertoire less than entirely appealing -- listeners looking for an outstanding recital of non-standard works need look no further.

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