<< -- 2 -- Robert Anderson REVELATORY SUCCESS
It should be said at once that June de Toth is equally effective when lacerating
or enchanting us. Her tonal range is impressive, and she accomplishes the rich
variety of the exigent Bartók with a sure touch, percussive and unyielding
where required, subtle and indeed moving in the tiniest folk-tune miniature. It is
a magisterial achievement. The 1926 piano sonata comes near the beginning of her
scheme, and its grinding harshness is what most might expect from Bartók at
[listen -- CD1 track 8, 3:22-4:44].
For the rest, it is perhaps instructive to follow a chronological rather than Tothian
This is certainly not the complete Bartók piano music. Apart from a
multitude of early works since lost, many pieces remain unpublished; but this
comprises a representative selection. It was Bartók's 1905 meeting with
Kodály that first directed him towards the systematic collection of folk
tunes from Hungary and neighbouring countries. Two years later he started their
publication, and in 1908-10 came Seven Sketches, with the beguiling
'See Saw, Dickory Daw' as No 2, playful enough to intrigue and entertain any child
[listen -- CD1 track 2, 0:00-0:49].
It happens also to be the briefest piece in the whole recital.
Copyright © 1 December 2004
Robert Anderson, London UK