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Dip Your Ears, No. 18

B. Bartók, Mikrokosmos, Huguette Dreyfus
"Curiosita" is the name of the new, mid-price series of Harmonia Mundi. Rather than churning out old mainstays of the back catalogue, it devotes itself to works off the beaten path and rewards those listeners who are, well, curious. Bartók’s Mikrokosmos is a wonderful example. And as if those dozens and dozens of keyboard miniatures weren't obscure enough, here they come in a surprise account played on the clavecin. That, as it turns out, is the "kicker." Mme. Dreyfus (C. Rousset's teacher) makes books 3 to 6 the most charming, gainful, rhythmical little things—like an army of small mechanical toys on a mission of fun and mischief. Questioning his preference for Mikrokosmos on piano vs. clavecin (a Bartók suggestion), i.e. "hammered" or "plucked," an ARG reviewer went so far as to say that in order to want to listen to the whole set you'd have to be hammered in the first place. This disc proves that wrong. Expect rather to become curiously drunk with excitement.

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