- Fantaisie & Toccata for piano, H. 281
- Piano Sonata, H. 350
- Etudes and Polkas (16) for piano (in 3 books), H. 308
- Czech Dances (3) for piano, H. 154
What does Giorgio Koukl have in his recording of Martinu's masterful 1954 "Piano Sonata" that Emil Leichner, Rudolf Firkusny, Eleonora Bekova, Erik Entwistle, Paul Kaspar, and Radoslav Kvapil don't have? In some cases, he has only a few seconds; in other cases, a minute; and in one case, nearly five minutes. This doesn't necessarily make Koukl's performance -- which takes exactly 21:06 -- better than theirs, but it does give a fair idea of appropriate tempos for the work. Koukl, like most of the pianists who've recorded the "Sonata," respects the depth, energy and integrity of the work; unlike most of them, however, he also finds more nuances in its depths, more lift in its tempos, and more cogency in its forms. Indeed, while Leichner's Supraphon recording is quite fine in its modernist-impressionist way, only Firkusny equals Koukl in intensity and passion, and Firkusny plays the work so quickly -- his recording is five minutes shorter than the standard -- that it could seem rushed to some listeners. Coupled here with Martinu's brilliant "Fantaisie et toccata," his rollicking three volumes of etudes and polkas, and his early set of "Three Czech Dances," and recorded in amazing vivid sound, this disc may be a clear first choice for fans of the Czech-French-American-Swiss composer.