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This immensely appealing disc lasts one hour but has 83 tracks: surely a record? Only 16 exceed a minute: the longest (1’44”) is Les cloches tristes, from the collection For Young and Old (1940). Its title, brevity and simplicity echo Nielsen’s better-known set, though Tcherepnin’s are more descriptive. Amazingly, 26 tracks last under 30 seconds, for example in 17 Piano Pieces for Beginners (1957), a charming set not unlike the early volumes of Bartók’s For Children. The three suites of Etude du piano sur la gamme pentatonique (the singular title, ‘Piano Study on the Pentatonic Scale’, is intentional) are a delightful set of Oriental-sounding bagatelles; only Suite 1 is within the scope of beginners, however. Koukl plays with the same consummate skill he has shown throughout this series, and is superb at communicating the sense of fun behind the music. A thoroughly enjoyable finale.

GUY RICKARDS Read the full review on Agora Classica


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