Iren Marik is another of the great Hungarian woman pianists, a daughter of the culture that brought us Franz Liszt. Sadly, I have few example of her playing to offer. I have read that three CDs of her recordings have been released, some of which may be included in the small collection presented here.
Similarly, I know almost nothing about her. She was a student of Bartok, She escaped from Hungary after WWII and emigrated to the USA where, away from the limelight, she taught, made rare studio recordings, and occasionally gave private recitals at her home near Death Valley, California for friends and neighbors.
So, let us take a look at Iren Marik's playing. The perfect clarity of the Lully Courante, the remarkable shaping of the voices and exquisite timing of delicate rubato, are enough to announce an exceptionally fine artist. Her perfect depiction of the fountains of the Villa d'Este, one of Liszt's most beautiful pieces, in which the effects of the delicate tone painting and the marriage of technical brilliance with expressivity, makes one yearn to hear some of the composer's larger scale works like the Legends and the Harmonies du soir.
From a technical standpoint, the Ravel is an education in how to use the pedal. Marik's ability to shift her approach to the piano to match the requirements of the composer and his music is uncanny. And of course, her Bartok, the flexibility of rhythm, her never losing sight of the expressiveness of the music where so many others would be overwhelmed by thoughts of percussive barbarism. And her Romanian Folk Dances do dance delightfully under her fingers.
Oh, to have been on the invitation list to one of those recitals.
recorded in 1974
Irén Marik plays Bach
filmed in 1983
Liszt "Les jeux d'eaux à la Villa d'Este" ~4 from Années de Pèlerinage, Troisième Année
recorded in 1956
Ravel "La vallée des cloches" ~5 from Miroirs
recorded in 1974
Bartók Allegro Barbaro
recorded in 1963
Bartók Romanian Folk Dances
For those of you who enjoy murder mysteries, here is my first with a strong musical polemic as background
Murder in the House of the Muse
which is also available as an audiobook.
And this is the more recently published second mystery in the series:
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