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Friday, June 9, 2017

Raats, Complete Piano Sonatas 1, Nicolas Horvath

Oh, the things we will hear once we open our ears! There is so much out there. There is Jaan Raats (b. 1932) a name as unknown to me as the umlauts in his name (that my current writing program cannot produce). The World Premiere recordings of his Complete Piano Sonatas 1 (Grand Piano 765) as deftly handled by pianist Nicolas Horvath is something of an event, The music has a dash and panache that is as revelatory as it is appealing,

This first volume gives us sonatas 1-4 and 9-10; the first three hail from 1959, No. 4 from 1969, No. 9 from 1985, rev. 2014 and No. 10 from 2000, rev. 2014.

His is a very motile, dynamic modernism that takes maximum advantage of the percussive nature of the instrument.

The music is not quite like anything else. The long span between the first and tenth sonatas does not at first listen show a huge stylistic change, there is a pronounced Raats-like quality to all of them. But that pronounced originality is the constant thread that makes the entire program stand out as special.

Jaan Raats has found a way to be modern without being what one might expect. That is something to appreciate. Explore this music and find another musical world awaiting!

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