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. 3
Naxos 8.557919. (79' 52")
Release date: 28 August 2007
"...you doubt whether any pianist today could make such an eloquent case for the music."
—David's Review Corner
"The finest disc in Kouklís beautifully played survey of Martinuís piano music."
—Guy Rickards, Gramophone
"This new volume of Martinu piano works is a near-compete delight."
—Jan Smaczny, BBC Music Magazine
Listen and learn more at NAXOS.com
The disc poses considerable technical demands for the soloist,
the Czech-born Martinu specialist, Giorgio Koukl, untroubled by
the complexities of the Fantaisie et Toccata which he plays with
clarity and deceptive ease. As with previous volumes, you doubt
whether any pianist today could make such an eloquent case for
—David's Review Corner,
In brilliant performances, pianist Giorgio Koukl gets under the skin of the scores.
The Northern Echo, 5:38pm Friday 17th August 2007
CENTRAL to this third release in pianist Giorgi Koukl's impressive
unfolding series of Bohuslav Martinu's complete piano music for
Naxos are the Fantasie et toccata and sonata. [...]
Prague-born Koukl fills these performances with an appropriate balance
of angst and affection. The pungent tones of despair underpinning the
sonata's fidgety adagio are a compelling case in point.
[...] As well as the three volumes
of etudes and polkas from 1945, in which the gleeful folk spirit is
present, Koukl goes back to the composer's prewar Paris era and the
whimsical Trois danses tchŤques which positively gleam with Bohemian
Fri 24 Aug 2007
Koukl, like most of the pianists who've
recorded the Sonata, respects the depth, energy and integrity of
the work; unlike most of them, however, he also finds more nuances
in its depths, more lift in its tempos, and more cogency in its
forms. Indeed, while Leichner's Supraphon recording is quite fine
in its modernist-impressionist way, only Firkuszny equals Koukl
in intensity and passion, [...]. Coupled
here with Martinu's brilliant Fantaisie et toccata, his rollicking
three volumes of Etudes and Polkas, and his early set of Three
Czech Dances, and recorded in amazing vivid sound, this disc
may be a clear first choice for fans of the
All Music Guide, 2007
This new volume of Martinu piano works is a near-compete
delight. [...] The broad-boned
Fantasy and Toccata [...]
in Giorgio Kouklís hands has both power and humour. Equally
impressive is his performance of the three-movement
sonata from 1954: his treatment of the rapt, often meditative
opening Poco Allegro is superb and the remaining movements
are affecting without sacrificing Martinuís strong sense of
underlying development; this a reading that creates a new
benchmark on record clearly surpassing Radoslav Kvapilís
The three volumes of Etudes and Polkas, nearly all short, pungently
characterised movements, are treated with similar attention to
detail. [...] Koukl has a clear vision for
each oneís expressive language and if very occasionally his phrasing
can seem a little short-breathed, there is a huge amount to enjoy on
this richly satisfying and well recorded disc.
BBC Music Magazine, September 2007
The finest disc in Kouklís beautifully played survey of Martinuís piano music.
Koukl is equally at home in the larger spans as the slighter ones, audibly
relishing the character of Martinuís late keyboard manner [...]. His robust approach suits
the Fantaisie et toccata and Sonata rather better but his touch is light
and sure in all three books of Etudes and Polkas and the Czech Dances, both
of which he brings alive where other exponents have sometimes made them sound
mechanical. The Sonata, written for and championed by Rudolf Serkin, is not
the easiest of Martinuís keyboard works on first acquaintance but this is one
of the best accounts of it I have heard. The Naxos recording is a real boon
here, the sound crystal clear with the piano ideally placed and focused in
the acoustical piucture. Recommended.
Gramophone, November 2007
The third volume of Giorgio Kouklís survey of Martinuís piano music is as
successful as the previous two. [...]
The Sonata is the most important work here. Koukl is sensitive to the Poco
allegro marking [of the first movement] And he
finds just the right sense of starkness and deliberation in that powerful
Adagio finale which he plays with gravity and singular intensity.
The depth of Kouklís bass is palpable in the Fantasie et Toccata. Its immediacy
is arresting and stresses the abrupt dynamism of the writing. Kouklís playing
here locates the imperturbable violence and threat in the writing Ė it was
written in 1940 after all. [...] Koukl certainly brings the edginess and
brittle attacks of the
Toccata very much to the fore. This is valiant and perceptive playing
indeed, emphasised by the very immediate nature of the studio recording.
After these two powerful and important statements we turn to the Etudes and
Polkas Ė lighter fare written in 1945. These brief and expert pieces Ė none
lasting longer than three minutes - bring out Kouklís instinct for rhythmic
vivacity and alluring tone. [...] The three Czech Dances round off the
programme and Koukl, Prague
born, knows all about them. He can do the ObkrocŠk with the best of them.
Interpretative excellence once again from Koukl - and so volume four is
awaited with anticipation.
Musicweb International, October 2007
This is, for me, the best of the three volumes of Martinu piano music
so far in this series. Koukl clearly has this music in his fingers and
heart. I had never heard either the Fantasy and Toccata or the Sonata
before and am glad to have become acquainted with them. And I can't
quite get the rhythm of the ObkrocŠk, from the Three Czech Dances,
out of my head — in my mind, a good sign!
Amazon.com, September 24, 2007
More praise for Giorgio Koukl in the Index of Reviews.