A countryman of Bela Bartók and a sometime teacher to both György Ligeti and György Kurtág, Sándor Veress emigrated to Switzerland from what was then part of Hungary in 1949. Settling in Bern, he collected various prizes and teaching posts while working in relative obscurity on who knows how many pieces–most of which have been unavailable. This collection is made up of a pithy trio of compositions dated 1938 (Six Csárdás), 1951 (Hommage à Paul Klee), and 1952 (Concerto for Piano, Strings, and Percussion), and they show what a deftly melodic force Veress was. He's thrilled by blustery string wafts, especially in the concerto, where the percussion adds drama and immediacy. But he also favors sweetly chipper string formations, which surprise the ear during the homage to Klee, especially given the dissonances fostered early on by the twin pianos. The closing piano miniatures of Six Csárdás are counterpoint-rich gems, played with sharp precision by András Schiff.
Sándor Veress represents a high water mark in Hungary’s rich musical heritage. He belongs between the generations of Bartók and Kodály, his teachers, and of Ligeti and Kurtag, his pupils. He experienced both world wars and Hungary’s police state afterwards, emigrating to Switzerland at age 45. Veress also taught Heinz Holliger, who was responsible for this fine recording, a loving tribute to his teacher. The Hommage à Paul Klee, the first of the …..Bert Bailey @ musicweb-nternational.com