Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra, etc. [Hybrid SACD]

Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra, etc. [Hybrid SACD]

by Fritz Reiner
     
 
While most concertos feature a solo instrument -- or sometimes several soloists -- accompanied by an orchestra, in this concerto the orchestra itself is the star. The Concerto for Orchestra is not a mere showpiece, however. The technical challenges always serve a musical purpose, whether it's to create the sad and delicate weblike strands of the "Elegy" or the

Overview

While most concertos feature a solo instrument -- or sometimes several soloists -- accompanied by an orchestra, in this concerto the orchestra itself is the star. The Concerto for Orchestra is not a mere showpiece, however. The technical challenges always serve a musical purpose, whether it's to create the sad and delicate weblike strands of the "Elegy" or the delirious dance of the finale. "Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta," which uses a smaller ensemble, is perhaps even more potent. The first movement is a fugue that builds slowly and powerfully. The second movement and the finale are rhythmic and wild, yet tightly coiled. The eerie use of xylophone and other percussion in the third movement influenced many film music composers -- particularly in the horror genre. Fritz Reiner, Hungarian by birth, was a marvelous interpreter of Bartók's music. These performances are classics, noted for their superb early-stereo-era sound that captures the supreme virtuosity of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in its prime.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
Fritz Reiner's friendship with Béla Bartók must be considered an important factor in the creation of these legendary recordings. Koussevitsky's famous commission for the "Concerto for orchestra" was due in large part to Reiner's advocacy, and he was among the first conductors to both perform and record this masterpiece. Beyond this, Reiner's great sympathy for his friend's work extends to the care and attention to detail he gave to the works included here. For all its virtuosity, the concerto is structurally symphonic, and Reiner ensures that the music formally coheres. He goes under the dazzling surface to touch the tragic core of the work and draws a deeply moving performance from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The "Music for strings, percussion, and celesta" is even more splendidly performed and recorded, and is arguably the finest recording Reiner ever made of Bartók's music. For intensity and precision, this performance has never been surpassed. The "Hungarian Sketches," a lighter piece than either of the preceding works, is often excluded from RCA's other reissues, but it is a delightful bonus that makes this deluxe edition the one worth having. The sound quality of the recording is generally excellent, especially with RCA's fastidious remastering.
Gramophone
RCA's sound reportage of the [Concerto's] quieter moments has uncanny realism and if the climaxes are occasionally reined in, the sheer fervour of Reiner's direction more than compensates.... The couplings, too, are excellent: a Music for strings, percussion and celesta that goes all out for smooth transitions and fleet execution, and a stylishly turned set of Hungarian Sketches.
Penguin Guide to Compact Discs
The sound approaches demonstration standard in its spacious warmth, clarity and impact. The performance is most satisfying, with plenty of cutting edge.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/14/2004
Label:
Sony Mod - Afw Line
UPC:
0828766139020
catalogNumber:
61390
Rank:
54

Tracks

  1. Concerto for Orchestra, Sz. 116, BB 127

    1. Introduzione: Andante non troppo; Allegro vivace  (10:01)
    2. Giuoco delle coppie: Allegrotto scherzando  (06:03)
    3. Elegia: Andante non troppo  (07:59)
    4. Intermezzo interrotto: Allegretto  (04:15)
    5. Finale: Pesante; Presto  (09:05)
  2. Music for Strings, Percussion & Celesta, Sz. 106, BB 114

    1. Andante tranquillo  (07:05)
    2. Allegro  (07:03)
    3. Adagio  (06:58)
    4. Allegro molto  (06:50)
  3. Hungarian Sketches (Magyar képek), for orchestra, Sz. 97, BB 103

    1. An Evening in the Village  (02:44)
    2. Bear Dance  (01:41)
    3. Melody  (02:05)
    4. Slightly Tipsy  (02:17)
    5. Swineherd's Dance  (01:57)

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