“Zoltán Kocsis's orchestrations” – states the CD cover slightly bombastically. The truth is actually that of the seventy minutes of material, nearly a half was perpetrated by the high priest of orchestration, Maurice Ravel. The mere fact that Kocsis is prepared to step into the ring with perhaps the greatest genius of orchestration of all time is itself praiseworthy.
That he does so on his adversary's home ground, further elevates the achievement. Kocsis in one of the last musicians who remains interested in everything concerning performed – or perhaps performable – works. Be it the story of their origins, their cultural environment or even problems with their notation. As a composer, instrumentalist or conductor, he is always preoccupied by the same thing: the essence of the music. Essentially, orchestration is a game. You take someone else's robes, and with them their gestures, style of speech, and forms of behaviour. It is a little like acting. And Kocsis is a superb “actor.” He handles Debussy and Ravel's works sensitively and with incredible knowledge of the orchestra. Among them are several works, one or more movements from which Ravel had already orchestrated.
A particular thing of interest is Debussy's song cycle Ariette oubliées, which Kocsis conjures into a genre that was once popular but now regrettably has almost vanished: that of the orchestral song. Although Júlia Hajnóczy's voice is a little colourless in the upper register, it can actually seem entirely adequate for the world of “Pelléas,” The performance of the National Philharmonic Orchestra, abounding with superb solos, creates fitting conditions for a successful debut for works both old and new.
– tépé –