Martin Perry plays Carter, Bartók, Rózsa

Martin Perry presents works by three composers that aren’t often grouped together: Bela Bartok, Mikos Rózsa, and Elliot Carter. And yet the three works on this disc form a cohesive and intriguing program.

Bartok used folk songs as the basis for his Improvisations on Hungarian Peasant Songs, Op. 20. But as the title suggests, he didn’t simply present the folk songs intact. He works with his material, often taking it in unexpected directions. The overall effect is that we’re hearing both something old and something new — which we are.

Miklos Rózsa is best remembered for his film scores, but he started his career as a classical composer, and remained so throughout his life. His Piano Sonata, Op. 20  has the some of the post-romantic gestures of his movie music, but there’s more to it than that. Rózsa’s composition is densely textured and complex in structure. Perry rises to the challenge, articulating the intricate lines that weave in and out of each other.

The 1945 piano sonata of Elliot Carter is something of a transitional work. Carter was still writing in a neoclassical style in the 1940’s, but one can hear the move towards what would become his highly personal form of serialism. Martin Perry plays with clarity, and illuminates the overarching organization of the work. His phrasing makes connections between the various motivic elements, so that the music builds logically rather than sound like a series of isolated incidents. Despite being devilishly difficult, Perry makes the piece flow, and even plays with élan.

Martin Perry plays Carter, Bartók, Rózsa
Martin Perry, piano
Bridge Records

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