Robert Silverman. Pianist.
Robert Silverman. Pianist.

Robert's Discs

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Robert Silverman performs Bartok and Martin

Robert Silverman performs Bartok and Martin

CDB-1


Stunning, communicative performances of three twentieth-century masterpieces for piano

The 1923 Dance Suite was commissioned by the city of Budapest — along with Kodaly’s Psalmus Hungaricus and Dohnanyi’s Festival Overture — to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the unification of the towns of Buda, Pest, and Obuda into one large city. As an orchestral work, the Dance Suite became immensely popular immediately after its premiere, but since Bártòk was an accomplished pianist, it is no surprise to learn that it also exists in an authentic piano version. What is surprising, however, is the degree to which the keyboard setting surpasses its better-known sibling in its ability to project the work’s clarity, and its vital rhythmic and percussive aspects. The 14 Bagatelles, Op. 6, were completed in 1908, when the composer was twenty-seven. Their considerable artistic merit aside, they leave no doubt that even at a relatively early age, Bártòk was already fluent with the avant-garde languages of his time. He was not merely dabbling with novel devices, however. Rather, in these short sketches, he was researching diversified techniques in quest of an individual language of his own. It was Bártòk’s success in adapting this element to his own musical language that was to give his music such distinct character and personal force.  

Frank Martin's Huit Préludes of 1948 exemplify the Swiss composer's unique, brooding style, with its characteristic admixture of free twelve-tone techniques, restless melodies that keep on turning in on themselves, and traditional, almost ordinary harmonies, employed in highly original sequences. They were originally composed for the legendary Romanian pianist Dinu Lipatti, whom Martin had met during World War II. It must have been one of Martin’s great disappointments (as well as ours) that Lipatti did not live long enough to perform them.

 



Repertoire

Bartok - 1923 Dance Suite (in the original piano solo version
Bartok - 14 Bagatelles, Op. 6
Martin - 8 Preludes by Swiss composer,

Reviews

"Silverman shows himself a masterful tone poet as he makes his way through the subtleties of Bartók’s exquisitely subtle melodies and rhythms. The pianist is particularly keen on bringing out the ethnic character of each movement of the Dance Suite. ....... There is a compelling self-absorbing impulse in Martin’s music; you can sense his imagination renewing itself out of itself. Silverman’s tone is achingly beautiful and lush. The sound of his recording is rich and resonant." FANFARE

“This is quite phenomenal playing .. deeply expres-sive, yet absolutely faithful to the composer’s idiom.” Records & Recording

“Recording of Special Merit” (Stereo Review)

“Robert Silverman’s wonderfully cogent, powerful recording helps establish him even further as a major pianist.” American Record Guide