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Alex Baran
The WholeNote, January 2019

Zuzana Šimurdová introduces the music of a hitherto unrecorded composer in her new world premiere recording release Fišer – Complete Piano Sonatas (Grand Piano GP 770; Luboš Fišer was a 20th-century Czech composer whose works are becoming better known through their publication by Barenreiter. His eight piano sonatas span the period from 1955 to 1995. He discarded the second sonata of which he was highly critical and the work was never recovered. Sonatas No.1 and No.3 are in three and two movements respectively while all the rest are single movements only.

Šimurdová is a powerful performer completely capable of the turmoil that is central to Fišer’s writing. Her ability to retreat into more tender moments of his music is what makes it truly human. Kudos to her for championing this voice. © 2019 The WholeNote

Piotr Grella-Mozejko
Panorama Polska, September 2018

As a pianist Šimurdová invariably demonstrates unusual maturity that allows her literally to make even a weakest piece sound and “speak” convincingly…first-class technical virtuosity; intuition always leading to making the right repertoire choices; deep understanding of music’s formal outlines; and, last but not least, the ability to control every work’s narrative tectonics—under her fingers music begins to live its own, independent life, a new life as opposed to its previous, stereotypical manifestations for she does not resuscitate (as happens all too often) but creates almost ex nihilo. That is a mark of true greatness.

And at this point it suffices to say that her committed interpretations are head and shoulders above the competition.

Very highly recommended. © 2018 Panorama Polska

Veroslav Nemec
Harmonie (Czech), June 2018

The Grand Piano label has an interesting specialisation: it makes and releases recordings of complete piano works of lesser-known music creators. Last year, its remarkable catalogue (which encompasses the complete piano oeuvres of the Czech composers J. V. H. Vorisek, Erwin Schulhoff and Vitezslava Kapralova, Leopold Kozeluh’s piano sonatas and J. K. Vanhal’s piano Capriccios) was extended with a CD of all the piano sonatas written by Lubos Fiser (1935-1999), as performed by the Czech-Canadian pianist Zuzana Simurdova. It is the very first complete album of the composer’s piano sonatas, with three of them—Nos. 3, 4 and 7—even being referred to in the track list as “world premiere recordings”.

Between 1955 and 1995, Lubos Fiser wrote eight piano sonatas, of which he later on discarded Sonata No. 2 from the list of his works. Sonata No. 1, made up of three movements, came into being in 1955, during the time of his studies at the Prague Conservatory. The second movement of Sonata No. 3, dating from 1960, when Fiser attended the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, is one of the most intriguing pieces of music on the present album. A truly breakthrough work, Sonata No. 4 ranks among the composer’s best piano sonatas, the first in which Fiser applied a number of principles that would be characteristic of his following sonatas—a condensed one-movement form, markedly contrastive, many a time relatively succinct sonic areas. …© 2018 Harmonie (Czech)

Jim Svejda
Fanfare, May 2018

Šimurdova’s playing, like her liner notes, has the unmistakable conviction and persuasiveness of a true believer, suggesting that Fišer’s piano music might actually be a taste that’s worth acquiring. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review

Juan Carlos Moreno
Ritmo, April 2018

The interpretation of Zuzana Simurdova makes clear all the contrasts of this intense and vivid music in a masterful way. © 2018 Ritmo

Jack Sullivan
American Record Guide, March 2018

Zuzana Šimurdová plays with color and affection. Her Bosendorfer sounds gorgeous. Listen to the delicate splashes of color in the Andante of Sonata 1 or the compelling crunch at the end of the same work’s first movement. Sonatas 3, 4, and 9 are world premiere recordings. I hope more of this composer’s undervalued music will appear on CD. © 2018 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Records International, December 2017

The following sonatas are all in a single movement, built of ‘blocks’—always basically tonal—within which ostinato-like figures repeat, with evolution and transformation. This could be a formula for repetitiveness, but the quality of the composer’s [Fišer] invention and the sheer variety of brief motifs that he finds from which to assemble his taut, highly compressed structures prevent this ever being the case. © 2017 Records International Read complete review

Musicalifeiten, November 2017

[These sonatas] can be regarded as an intimate diary of his compositional development, from the first sonata composed as a student, still reflective of neoclassicism, then gradual experimentation until the last sonata with its emotional simplicity. It is good that the pianist Zuzana Šimurdová, currently living in Canada, who studied in Brno, has now thoroughly familiarised us with this composer who is worth listening to. © 2017 Musicalifeiten

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2017

Lubos Fiser was born in 1935 and spent the whole of his life studying and working in Prague, his career always under the watchful eye of the Communist Party regime. The booklet with the disc claims he was one of the Czech Republic’s most influential and versatile composers of the Twentieth century, though I guess most readers will never have encountered his music. So here is your chance to take a voyage through his creative life, the eight piano sonatas—the second is lost—punctuating at various times his compositional style. Beginning in 1955, and towards the end of his student days, the First was cast in the conventional three movements, and links back to a European musical world at the beginning of the Twentieth century, with just a hint of Second Viennese School influences. Five years later, atonality had entered his music, the Third a work in two movements with the second both weighty and aggressive. Go forward another four years and in the Fourth he takes his first stride into the avant-garde of his generation, its one movement encompassing massive mood changes, much of the angst generated by the death of his young student colleague who had given the premiere of his First Sonata. Ten years passed and the Fifth is encapsulated in a short time-span, its style very much of Fiser’s own making. The Sixth, shorter still, and with even more divergent moods, dates from 1978, seven years before the Seventh where we go back in time to his student score, the return completed in his Eighth, a score finished four years before his untimely death in 1999. The Czech-Canadian pianist, Zuzana Simurdova, is equal to all of Fiser’s demands, and you have the feel she has become a very convinced advocate of the composer. The sound quality is acceptable. © 2017 David’s Review Corner

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