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Lynn René Bayley
The Art Music Lounge, February 2017

Koukl, as he did in his remarkable recording of the piano music of Kaprálova, definitely has his own approach to things. His playing is both structurally sound and rhythmically fluid; he plays in a clear, wide-awake style with only a nod to Impressionist opaqueness, yet also manages to inform the music with a fluid rhythm not too dissimilar from jazz. I doubt that the composer knew what jazz was when he wrote these pieces, but the rhythmic looseness works beautifully in these interpretations, which are full of shade and nuance. Listen carefully, for instance, to the cascading eighth notes in the fourth Prélude Fragile, where Koukl spaces the notes slightly irregularly in pulse. This has the virtue of making each note stand out and not sound like just another cog in the gear, and it is a small but important indication of the kind of sensitivity he brought to this project.

I am so much enamored of these pieces, and their performances, that I find it difficult to write about them in an objective manner. Once again with Koukl, you almost feel as if the composer is communicating directly with you, that there is no middle man (or woman) playing the instrument. It’s a hard thing to put into words, but I always feel this way when listening to Koukl’s playing. He always seems to be the conduit for the composer’s thoughts and feelings, seldom the “interpreter” in the conventional sense of the term. That is a high compliment.

This is a wonderful album and one highly recommended for its unusual content, splendidly played and recorded. © 2017 The Art Music Lounge Read complete review



Peter J. Rabinowitz
Fanfare, January 2017

…I wouldn’t call Lourié’s style either derivative or generic. These pieces may not reveal a truly distinctive voice, but most of them are filled with the sense of adventure and discovery: Indeed, he was closely tied to the futurists, and Formes en l’air, dedicated to Picasso, has an experimental visual layout. And even the least interesting piece here—the 1926 Neoclassical Petite Suite—has a dapper charm that may, as Anthony Short’s generally informative notes suggest, bring Poulenc to mind. © 2016 Fanfare



Burkhard Schäfer
Piano News, January 2017

Interpretation:
Klang:
Repertoirewert:

…blessed hands…the best possible advocate for the exciting sound travel into the inner world of piano… © 2017 Piano News



Alan Becker
American Record Guide, January 2017

…a recording of demonstration quality, and a pianist totally in tune with the music. Fascinating… © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Dr. Jürgen Schaarwächter
www.klassik.com, November 2016

An exciting composer, exciting repertoire, marvellously performed. Recording, layout and packaging are equally flawless. What can one other say than: Recommended. © 2016 www.klassik.com



Steve Arloff
MusicWeb International, September 2016

We should thank our lucky stars that people like Giorgio Koukl are sufficiently motivated to pursue these searches with such determined zeal and this coupled with his luminous playing makes this disc a superb place to begin to fire up one’s interest in such a musically fascinating find. © 2016 MusicWeb International




BBC Music Magazine, September 2016

An efficiently played survey ranges from Lourié’s pre-WWI works—jackdaw-like borrowings from Scriabin—to the premiere recording of the 1926 Satie-meets-neo-classical Petite Suite. © 2016 BBC Music Magazine



David Denton
David's Review Corner, August 2016

The enclosed booklet relates that Arthur-Vincent Lourié’s life was punctuated by one ill-timed decision after another, his name now entombed in the long forgotten. He was born to a Jewish family in that part of the world we now know as Belarus, and was named in 1891, Naum Izrailevich Luria. A pupil of Glazunov in St. Petersburg, he espoused the socialist policy in post-Revolutionary Russia, but his music and personality didn’t fit the new regime, and his name change was not a good move. So in 1922 he defected and settled in Paris where he became a friend of Stravinsky, and then fell out with him. The outbreak of the Second World War was a time to move to the United States, for though he had become a Catholic, his Jewish parentage did not bode well. In the States he found little admiration for his dated style of composition, and his past did not count for much in a brave new world. From the fact that the disc contains twenty-nine tracks, you will rightly assume he was a miniaturist, and I guess you will enjoy the short Cinq Preludes Fragiles and Deux Estampes that are in direct descent from Debussy. Scriabin entered his music in the Mazurkas, reaching its zenith in Masques, before he converted to neo-Classicism in the Petite Suite. I would hesitate to say you are about to discover a neglected genius, though he did come precious close to joining the outstanding Impressionists. The precision of his fingers is always a delight when listening to Giorgio Koukl, and he proves a compelling Lourie champion. Would that all piano recordings were of this beautiful sound quality, and the sleeve tells us there is more Lourié to follow. © 2016 David’s Review Corner





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