Notes and Editorial Reviews
Lichtspiel. Improvisations. Eisblumen
Tomas Dratva (pn);
Paul Goodwin, cond; Basel Chamber Orchestra
OEHMS OC 750 (56:47)
János Tamás, who died in 1995 at age 59, grew up in Hungary, but emigrated to Switzerland in 1956, where he remained, becoming a major figure in Swiss musical culture. His roots, though, are especially evident in this Piano
Concerto, which was written in 1965 on speculation, and not premiered until 2009 by the Swiss-based pianist who also made this recording. It is an obvious homage to Bartók, brilliant and propulsive, but it is not imitative. Tamás makes effective and original use of the brass, with rippling choruses echoing patterns in the solo piano writing. The three-movement work is carefully constructed and quite entertaining, if not almost tiresome in its consistently high energy level. It would make a good concert piece and should be heard by a larger audience, although that would require more than a little effort. According to the notes, one of the reasons it took so long to premiere it is because the original dedicatee, Karl Engel, could not find the time to learn the difficult score.
The beguiling solo piano music is also very interesting, but at a much lower temperature. The brief
(Display of Lights), from 1971, is a study in pianistic color, consisting mainly of delicate trills on the top half of the keyboard. The
, despite the title, sounds well formed, thoughtful, and mainly calm, imbued with a kind of post-Ravel harmonic sensibility. The lovely
, consisting of 14 fleeting gems of subtle variety, is well known in Switzerland, especially as a pedagogical vehicle. It seems as if Tamás made a profound impression in his adopted home. Judging from the music on this well-played release, he deserves a wider reputation than that.
FANFARE: Peter Burwasser
Works on This Recording
Concerto for piano & orchestra by Janos Tamas
Tomas Dratva (Piano)
Basel Chamber Orchestra
Date of Recording: 02/10/2009
Venue: Live Kultur- und Kongresshaus Aarau
Length: 20 Minutes 6 Secs.
Improvisations, for piano by Janos Tamas
Tomas Dratva (Piano)
Date of Recording: 08/26/2009
Venue: Radiostudio Zurich
Length: 10 Minutes 41 Secs.
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