Tuesday, October 27, 2015


Garrick Ohlsson has an unbeaten reputation as the master of the miniature. In this new recital he presents three sets of Études: the twelve by Claude Debussy (so ferocious in their demands they were shunned even by elite pianists for decades), as well as Prokofiev’s revolutionary opus 2 and three works by Bartók. In all Ohlsson excels.

“His powerful technique motors through Prokofiev’s four miniatures with tremendous confidence, relishing their naughty-boy dissonances, and he treats the Lisztian flourishes that occasionally surface in the modernist currents of Bartók’s three pieces with suitable flamboyance. There are some fine moments in the Debussy set, too.” --The Guardian, 23rd July 2015 ****

 "The wonder of this very varied programme is that in Garrick Ohlsson’s hands these 19 Etudes shed their functional aspect (or seem to) and instead emerge as beautifully crafted miniatures. Even the opening Debussy study 'for five fingers, after Monsieur Czerny' parades colour and a sense of play before all else, whereas the Fourth Etude ('Sixths') settles on the sort of focused atmosphere more associated with his Images or Préludes. By prioritizing mood and texture over technical display Ohlsson releases the musical value of these fascinating pieces. Prokofiev’s set of four Etudes approximate chippings from the workbench where the Sonatas were crafted, the first of them a choppy, medium-paced ostinato, the Lisztian second initially slow and dark (though it closes like the Toccata), both superbly played. And then there are Bartók’s three Etudes of 1918, masterpieces all of them, the second and third like cerebral improvisations, the first hinting at the world of boogie, though the fierce frown is unmistakably Bartók’s own. Highly recommended." --Classical Ear, July 2015

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