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CD Feature/ Tzimon Barto: "A Basket of Wild Strawberries"

img  Tobias

We should have been warned. In a interview two years ago, Tzimon Barto declared his farewell to Chopin and Lizt, to the “thinker” and “athlete” of the piano world, as well as to anything overly and overtly artificial. No more “parrots in a cage” for him – he yearned for directness, pureness, immediacy, for a music without makeup. As he’s serving us “a basket of wild strawberries”, all of his aims have materialised.

This disc is of a seldomly found urgency, without catering to any superimposed demands from the marketing department. Featuring 21 “Jewels” freely selected from the catalogue of Jean-Philippe Rameau, on paper it actually sounds more like a statment of denial: Rameau was a famous 18th-century organist, known rather for his operas than his keyboard works (in fact, it was a rendition of “Platee”, which made Barto fall in love with his music) - what could possibly be more tiresome and dusty than a piano rendition of his harpsichord originals? After listening to “Wild Strawberries”, the question needs to be reversed: What could possibly be more exciting? In the short, but highly informative interview contained in the booklet, Tzimon vividly explains the piece’s place in the here and now: Their colourful palette, the use of the instrument’s deep tones to create mantra-like drones and Rameau’s firm belief that it was harmony rather than melody, which was music’s initial impulse. His playing echoes these premises: Tracks glide by with a gentle flow, appear almost fractal-like with each complete piece seeming to mirror itself in every of its instances and fragments, which Barto plays with a meditative lyricism and a sparse and delicately explorative tone. While Toros Can’s dreams of Purcell (out on l’impreinte digitale) wandered like a mourning insomniac through endless isolated corridors, “Wild Strawberries” takes listeners to a marble zen garden in the morning.

Truly, Barto has stripped his music bare to the bone. The only thing which will occasionaly remind you of his presence is the sound of his breathing, which never interrupts, but rather deepens concentration. This is the direct, pure and immediate music he promised us and its impact is devastating. Consider yourself warned, just don’t expect to be prepared.

Homepage: Tzimon Barto
Homepage: Ondine Records

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