Read what music critics are saying about Giorgio Koukl as
performer and composer, excerpted from media coverage of live concerts,
radio broadcasts, and especially about his recent compact discs on Naxos.
Martinů: Complete Piano Music, Vol. 1
Naxos 8.557914. (57' 10")
Release date: 21 November 2006
"Rhythmic precision, meticulous voicing, and a clean, clear sound."
—Mike D. Brownell, All Music Guide
"Giorgio Koukl always channels his considerable technique toward putting
Martinu's message first."
—Jed Distler, Classics Today
"Koukl has the technical authority for these works. His
playing gives off a sense of being at ease, with the ability
to extend himself as needed."
—Barry Brenesal, Fanfare
"...it may prove to be the cycle."
—Alan M. Watkins, rec.music.opera
Listen and learn more at NAXOS.com
Koukl has the technical authority for these works. His
playing gives off a sense of being at ease, with the
ability to extend himself as needed.
Koukl’s major competition comes from Emil Leichner, [...]
Both pianists are fine, but in general I prefer Koukl’s
greater presence and liveliness.
Sound on this pair of volumes is close, lifelike and reverberant,
like a good seat in a small hall. [...] Definitely recommended,
with hopes for more in the near future.
Fanfare, May/June 2007
[this review also discusses Vol. 2]
[...] technically fine, he plays with great rhythmic control
and does not seek to impose himself on the music. Assuming
he will be our guide through the rest of the series, I have
little doubt he will prove a reliable one. He is aided by
excellent recorded sound and the issue is well-documented.
Another worthy projected series is up-and-running from
Naxos - they should certainly be giving this one high
priority. This is attractive music with considerable
merits and experience of Firkušný's marvellous record
suggests that there are even better things to come.
—Patrick C. Waller,
Musicweb, December 2006
I much enjoyed his playing with the energetic sections
wonderfully clean and agile. Try track 20, the Charleston
from the Trois Esquisses, to sample his virtuosity and
Martinu's sense of fun. He is also at home in the pieces
of beauty, Le Noel being particularly pleasing.
—David's Review Corner,
Now comes a budget Naxos in Volume One of Martinu's complete piano
music and, in my view, it's another winner and [...] it may prove to be *the* cycle.
In my opinion, this is very great playing and a fascinating study not
only of Martinu's "Paris" period (Good morning, Mr Dada) but of a
composer whose fascination with jazz syncopation came from an earlier
era and another continent.
Absolutely recommended. Naxos 8557914.
—Alan M. Watkins,
rec.music.opera, 27 November 2006
Artistic quality 9/9 Sound quality.
Most of the short cycles featured on the first volume in Naxos' complete
Martinu piano music survey represent the composer's early style, where
French effervescence, the Czech speech patterns of Janácek, and American
jazz idioms delightfully collide. They're also pianistically effective
and deserve more serious attention among young pianists looking to build
interesting programs. Like his one-time teacher Rudolf Firkusny, pianist
Giorgio Koukl always channels his considerable technique toward putting
Martinu's message first. For example, a greenhorn virtuoso might easily
be tempted to make the churning textures and motoric drive characterizing
the Allegro vivo third movement of the Esquisses de Danses into a flashy
toccata. However, Koukl's steady moderation allows the melodies to truly
sing—and even dance. His supple and debonair performances of the
eight jazz-inspired Preludes favorably compare to Emil Leichner's relatively
drier, leaner ones on Supraphon. Perhaps Leichner imbues Window on the
Garden's more lyrical moments with a little more breathing room and tender
inflection, but there's much to be said for Koukl's warmer, more colorful
sonority, with upgraded sonics to match. Needless to say, I look forward
to further volumes.
Classics Today, January 2007
Pianomusiken upptar nästan en fjärdedel av Martinů's produktion,
men har alltid stått i skuggan av orkester- och kammarverken. Naxos
påbörjade utgivning av tjeckens kompletta pianoverk, med Giorgio Koukl
som exekutör, är välkommen.
Dock är jag måttligt förtjust i den första cd:n med stycken från 1920-38. Flimret
av tjeckisk folkton, fransk modernism och amerikansk populärmusik - som i den
Scott Joplin-lika "Foxtrot" - plus närvaron av Stravinskijs snacksaliga ande,
får det att låta som potpurrier till stumfilm.
Glimtvis anar man en tekniskt originell tonsättare med öra för ett mer tidlöst
vemod. Giorgio Koukl utför de otaliga synkoperna med bravur, men är inte lika
omsorgsfull med dynamiken.
SvD, 6 December 2006 [Swedish]
Pianist Giorgio Koukl does an admirable job of maintaining these interesting
facets in this first volume of solo piano works. Koukl was first introduced
to the music of Martinu through venerable pianist Rudolf Firkusny, who was
not only a friend of Martinu but also one of the greatest interpreters of
his music. Koukl's playing has a great deal in common with Firkusny's. This
performance is marked by rhythmic precision, meticulous voicing, and a clean,
clear sound that is distinct and audible. Koukl deftly switches between the
extremely varied demands of the pieces on this album, from the more virtuosic
Preludes H. 181 to the charming character pieces such as the Fables H. 138
and Christmas H. 167. This album is highly recommended not only for fans of
Martinu's music, but also for those who appreciate superb solo piano playing.
—Mike D. Brownell,
All Music Guide, [December] 2006
Einmal mehr zeigt sich, dass die Naxos-Produktionen nicht nur
Repertoire-Füller sind, sondern im Ernstfall musikalischer
Entdeckungen auch alle Ansprüche gültiger Informationen erfüllen.
Die vorliegenden, von Koukl wendig, wenn nötig auch brillant
entworfenen Stücke bestätigen Martinus Internationalität, sein
Vermögen, verschiedenste Gegenden, Stimmungen zu inhalieren und
in Musik zu transformieren.
Klassik Heute, 25 January 2007 [German]
The many facets of Martinu’s musical personality shine through both CDs. Both
of them are beautifully planned with the first featuring his fascination in
the late 1920s with jazz. [...] Giorgio Koukl manages this repertoire with
great poise and considerable verve in the jazz-inspired works [...]
The second disc [...] Koukl’s performances are idiomatic and rather more colourful than on the
—Jan Smaczny, BBC Music Magazine
[this review also discusses Vol. 1]
More praise for Giorgio Koukl in the Index of Reviews.