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Steve Arloff
MusicWeb International, June 2020

…I am enjoying it as much as I did the first disc. I defy anyone to listen to Mouvement de Fox-trot and Presto from his Suite brève of 1930 and not want to keep them on repeat. Dance was a key inspiration for Harsányi, and it powers a number of the pieces on this disc. All the music is both fresh and inventive. Even the earliest piece from 1913 could have been written at any time between then and now. Presto also incorporates elements of jazz as do many of the pieces. As Giorgio Koukl’s hands leapt up and down the keyboard, I was reminded of one particular jazz pianist who has visited our jazz club in my town. The Vivace from the same suite is just as infused with the joie de vivre evident in Presto.

Of course this is not music that can be compared to the greats of the piano repertoire but why should it be? It is good in its own right, has charm, flair, plenty of interest and often pure delight. It is music that is as worthy of hearing as any. That is what makes Grand Piano a fantastic source of unknown music by a number of undeservedly neglected composers who would otherwise be unlikely to be heard elsewhere, hence the number of recording firsts. Along with the label there is a need to find pianists who will be interested enough to take the music on. I know that in the case of Giorgio Koukl it is because he believes in it as much as Grand Piano obviously does. Equally Koukl is a perfect choice because of that belief; he is a champion of this area of music that is eschewed by others who are happiest when they record yet another disc of Beethoven or Schubert or Chopin. I am not decrying that but it takes a true servant of music to be prepared to play that which is not well known but who is ready to take on the challenge to have it heard.

To sum up this is music that is always enjoyable, sometimes delightful and occasionally brilliant. Giorgio Koukl plays it with sympathy and if anyone can help it achieve the recognition it deserves, it is he. © 2020 MusicWeb International Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2020

The second volume in the complete piano works of the Hungarian-born Twentieth century composer, Tibor Harsanyi, follows on my review of the first disc in January.

A pupil of Kodaly he moved to Paris where he adopted a mainstream West European style that moved within the traditions of tonality recycled into a modern idiom, but rejecting the Second Viennese School of composition. Though not presented in chronological order, the disc mainly covers the period 1924 to 1930, most scores being the result of bringing together a number of quite short works, some lasting just a few seconds, with the majority below three minutes. They are equally descriptive of their individual titles, the CD extending to 37 tracks, many in dance rhythms, the 3 Pieces de Dance including a Tango, Waltz and Fox-trot. Though many offer few technical challenges, the Presto in the Suite Breve is of finger-knotting virtuosity only rivalled by the following Vivace. Maybe start with this work, the opening three movements of the 3 Pieces Lyriques from 1944 having a rather meandering quality. The 12 Petite Pieces, could hardly be more petite, while the Petite Suite de Danse from 1924 has some ‘naughty’ twists and turns to retain our attention. Whatever the mood or content, it finds a dedicated advocate and performer in the Czech pianist, Giorgio Koukl. As we have come expect, the sound of the Steinway piano in this Swiss studio brings total clarity. © 2020 David’s Review Corner



Records International, May 2020

This Hungarian-born composer is recognized as an important personality in ‘L’École de Paris’. He had a lifelong interest in modern dance, represented here by the Petite suite and Trois Pièces de danse, and he also embraced jazz, which was part of the Parisian atmosphere of the inter-war period, and other influences, while keeping the Central European rhythms and tonalities of his Hungarian origins. The Trois Pièces lyriques is a rare example of Harsányi expressing torment during the turbulent years of the Second World War. © 2020 Records International



Lynn René Bayley
The Art Music Lounge, April 2020

Hungarian composer Tibor Harsányi (1898-1954), virtually forgotten in the West, is one of several pet projects of the great Hungarian pianist Giorgio Koukl, who for some reason flies a bit under the radar of most classical listeners. This is, perhaps, because most of the material he plays is off the radar of most pianists to begin with (Harsányi, Kapralova, Lourie—lots of Lourie, and Martinů), but he is clearly a major talent and needs to be recognized as such.

One could give just as detailed descriptions of every piece in this recital, of which only the 3 Pièces de Danse are not first recordings. Harsányi may yet have a long way to go before he begins to show up on pianists’ concert programs, but at least we can appreciate what he had to offer on Koukl’s remarkable recordings. © 2020 The Art Music Lounge Read complete review





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