Home    Biography    Reviews    Recordings    Repertoire    Compositions    Publisher    Press/Media    Listen

Read what music critics are saying about Giorgio Koukl as performer and composer, excerpted from media coverage of live concerts, radio broadcasts, and especially about his recent compact discs on Naxos.
  Reviews
 


Martinů: Complete Piano Music, Vol. 3
Naxos 8.557919. (79' 52")
Release date: 28 August 2007


"...you doubt whether any pianist today could make such an eloquent case for the music."
  —David's Review Corner

"The finest disc in Kouklís beautifully played survey of Martinuís piano music."
  —Guy Rickards, Gramophone

"This new volume of Martinu piano works is a near-compete delight."
  —Jan Smaczny, BBC Music Magazine

Listen and learn more at NAXOS.com

The disc poses considerable technical demands for the soloist, the Czech-born Martinu specialist, Giorgio Koukl, untroubled by the complexities of the Fantaisie et Toccata which he plays with clarity and deceptive ease. As with previous volumes, you doubt whether any pianist today could make such an eloquent case for the music.

David's Review Corner, August 2007

In brilliant performances, pianist Giorgio Koukl gets under the skin of the scores.

Gavin Engelbrecht, The Northern Echo, 5:38pm Friday 17th August 2007

CENTRAL to this third release in pianist Giorgi Koukl's impressive unfolding series of Bohuslav Martinu's complete piano music for Naxos are the Fantasie et toccata and sonata. [...] Prague-born Koukl fills these performances with an appropriate balance of angst and affection. The pungent tones of despair underpinning the sonata's fidgety adagio are a compelling case in point.

[...] As well as the three volumes of etudes and polkas from 1945, in which the gleeful folk spirit is present, Koukl goes back to the composer's prewar Paris era and the whimsical Trois danses tchŤques which positively gleam with Bohemian laisez-faire.

The Scotsman, Fri 24 Aug 2007

Koukl, like most of the pianists who've recorded the Sonata, respects the depth, energy and integrity of the work; unlike most of them, however, he also finds more nuances in its depths, more lift in its tempos, and more cogency in its forms. Indeed, while Leichner's Supraphon recording is quite fine in its modernist-impressionist way, only Firkuszny equals Koukl in intensity and passion, [...]. Coupled here with Martinu's brilliant Fantaisie et toccata, his rollicking three volumes of Etudes and Polkas, and his early set of Three Czech Dances, and recorded in amazing vivid sound, this disc may be a clear first choice for fans of the Czech-French-American-Swiss composer.

James Leonard, All Music Guide, 2007

This new volume of Martinu piano works is a near-compete delight. [...] The broad-boned Fantasy and Toccata [...] in Giorgio Kouklís hands has both power and humour. Equally impressive is his performance of the three-movement sonata from 1954: his treatment of the rapt, often meditative opening Poco Allegro is superb and the remaining movements are affecting without sacrificing Martinuís strong sense of underlying development; this a reading that creates a new benchmark on record clearly surpassing Radoslav Kvapilís serviceable account.

The three volumes of Etudes and Polkas, nearly all short, pungently characterised movements, are treated with similar attention to detail. [...] Koukl has a clear vision for each oneís expressive language and if very occasionally his phrasing can seem a little short-breathed, there is a huge amount to enjoy on this richly satisfying and well recorded disc.

Jan Smaczny, BBC Music Magazine, September 2007

The finest disc in Kouklís beautifully played survey of Martinuís piano music.

[...]

Koukl is equally at home in the larger spans as the slighter ones, audibly relishing the character of Martinuís late keyboard manner [...]. His robust approach suits the Fantaisie et toccata and Sonata rather better but his touch is light and sure in all three books of Etudes and Polkas and the Czech Dances, both of which he brings alive where other exponents have sometimes made them sound mechanical. The Sonata, written for and championed by Rudolf Serkin, is not the easiest of Martinuís keyboard works on first acquaintance but this is one of the best accounts of it I have heard. The Naxos recording is a real boon here, the sound crystal clear with the piano ideally placed and focused in the acoustical piucture. Recommended.

Guy Rickards, Gramophone, November 2007

The third volume of Giorgio Kouklís survey of Martinuís piano music is as successful as the previous two. [...]

The Sonata is the most important work here. Koukl is sensitive to the Poco allegro marking [of the first movement] And he finds just the right sense of starkness and deliberation in that powerful Adagio finale which he plays with gravity and singular intensity.

The depth of Kouklís bass is palpable in the Fantasie et Toccata. Its immediacy is arresting and stresses the abrupt dynamism of the writing. Kouklís playing here locates the imperturbable violence and threat in the writing Ė it was written in 1940 after all. [...] Koukl certainly brings the edginess and brittle attacks of the Toccata very much to the fore. This is valiant and perceptive playing indeed, emphasised by the very immediate nature of the studio recording.

After these two powerful and important statements we turn to the Etudes and Polkas Ė lighter fare written in 1945. These brief and expert pieces Ė none lasting longer than three minutes - bring out Kouklís instinct for rhythmic vivacity and alluring tone. [...] The three Czech Dances round off the programme and Koukl, Prague born, knows all about them. He can do the ObkrocŠk with the best of them.

Interpretative excellence once again from Koukl - and so volume four is awaited with anticipation.

Jonathan Woolf, Musicweb International, October 2007

This is, for me, the best of the three volumes of Martinu piano music so far in this series. Koukl clearly has this music in his fingers and heart. I had never heard either the Fantasy and Toccata or the Sonata before and am glad to have become acquainted with them. And I can't quite get the rhythm of the ObkrocŠk, from the Three Czech Dances, out of my head — in my mind, a good sign!

Recommended.

Scott Morrison, Amazon.com, September 24, 2007

More praise for Giorgio Koukl in the Index of Reviews.

MUSIC PLAY MANAGEMENT
6945 - ORIGLIO - LUGANO SWITZERLAND
e-mail: musicplay "at" freesurf "dot" ch • tel. (004176)3857340 • fax. (004191)9309418