There are few bodies of work that make up a more satisfying CD program than the piano music of Czech composer Leos Janácek (1854-1928).
There are few bodies of work that make up a more satisfying CD program than the piano music of Czech composer Leos Janácek (1854-1928). Measuring some 77 minutes in toto, the tragic Piano Sonata "1.X.1905," the two books of atmospheric miniatures titled In the Mist and On an Overgrown Path, and the rarely heard nostalgic gem A Recollection constitute an intensely intimate set of emotional shadow play. There have been past masters of these—most notably Rudolf Firkusny, who played for the composer as a boy and went on to make a lauded Deutsche Grammophon record in the early '70s. In his third outing for ECM (after years with Decca and Teldec), Hungarian artisan András Schiff offers his own, more pensive take on this sublime music. While plumbing the Piano Sonata's depths, he also revels in the luminosity of the miniatures, abetted by the resonant ECM sonics. This is the height of keyboard poetry.—BB