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Posted October 1, 2010
Three Triumvirates Lead by One Master
The Complete (Three) Bartók Piano Concerti played by three superb pianists supported by three top ranking orchestras + Pierre Boulez equals an unqualified success. One wonders who thought of this format - Boulez, DGG,...? It matters little because the concept of recording each of these glorious Bartók concerti with different soloists and orchestras is like having a good seat on the touring bus with Boulez as he makes his rounds on the podiums of the world's orchestras. Matching pianists with concerti is a luxury in which Boulez and his intense musicality melds well. For the quirky First Concerto the treacherous score is manned evenly between Krystian Zimmerman and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. For the more lyrical Second Concerto Leif Ove Andsnes is graced by the presence of the magnificent Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. And for the sweet and melancholic Third Concerto Hélène Grimaud collaborates with the London Symphony Orchestra in as fine a performance as is available on CD. But given the graces of soloists and orchestras, this very fine recording would not have been so in tune with Béla Bartók were it not for the sensitive, perceptive skills of Boulez. He finds the riches of each orchestra's attributes and allows us to hear just why each is so fine. The three interpretations are clearly guided by Boulez' uncanny ability to find the core of the score and allow it to sing. This is one of those recordings that is a first choice for collectors. Absolutely superb! Grady Harp
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