The works on this disc range from 1927 to 1956, and
reveal Danish composer Svend Erik Tarp (1908-94) synthesizing a personal
language from the French keyboard tradition of Ravel and Poulenc, with a
healthy dose of Bartók's rhythmic drive mixed in. The basic outlook is
neoclassical; the textures glitter; witty and diverting (but never cheap
or facile) tunes abound; and occasional forays into polytonality and
arresting dissonances add spice. It's wholly delightful.
major works here are the Sonata (1956), a beautifully crafted
three-movement work with an exquisite slow movement and a touch of jazz
in its finale; the Theme with variations, tremendously inventive and
colorful; and the 3 Sonatinas, charming and pithy, but also wide-ranging
in expression and full of character. They are all very affectingly
played by Tonya Lemoh, who projects the often driving rhythms without
ever banging or forgetting their melodic essence. The whole production
is extremely well recorded by Dacapo's engineers.
Tarp's music is a real "find" that piano fanciers will certainly want to
experience without delay. He also composed about 10 symphonies that
(according to the notes) show his musical idiom evolving in new
directions over time, and it would be very interesting to hear them. I
can only hope that this disc signals the intention of further releases
of Tarp's music. It's difficult to tell from such a small sampling, but
on evidence here Tarp was the real deal - a significant voice in
20th-century music, one well worth getting to know.