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Bartok: Concerto for Orch / Viola Concerto
Bartok, Kubelik, Barenboim
Bartok: Concerto for Orch / Viola Concerto
Genre: Classical
 
One of bartĘk's most popular symphonic works is his concerto for orchestra; rafael kubelik's fabulous recording of it has long been out of the catalogue and is now restored to circulation at budget price. What's more, it'...  more Ľ

      

CD Details

All Artists: Bartok, Kubelik, Barenboim, Boston Sym Orch, Orch de Paris, Benyamini
Title: Bartok: Concerto for Orch / Viola Concerto
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Eloquence
Release Date: 12/11/2009
Album Type: Import
Genre: Classical
Style: Symphonies
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 028948007134

Synopsis

Album Description
One of bart¢k's most popular symphonic works is his concerto for orchestra; rafael kubelik's fabulous recording of it has long been out of the catalogue and is now restored to circulation at budget price. What's more, it's the first recording of the piece made by the orchestra for which it was written. Koussevitzky and the boston symphony premiered the work in december 1944 and it wasn't until nearly 30 years later, in november 1973, that the orchestra recorded it for the first time - in boston's symphony hall, with kubelik conducting. The viola concerto was commissioned by william primrose, who did much to advocate the piece. Sadly, bart¢k died before he could complete the work or meet with primrose at a sufficiently advanced stage of the concerto's composition in order to discuss it. Tibor serly completed the work and primrose premiered it in 1949. This is the first release on cd of the deutsche grammophon recording of the piece with daniel benyamini, for long leader of the viola section of the israel philharmonic as soloist, and daniel barenboim conducting.
 

CD Reviews

Banner Bartok from the Band in Boston
The Aeolian | 03/29/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Bartok Concerto for Orchestra held a special interest for Rafael Kubelik: he recorded it with at least three different orchestras (perhaps some music fans may know of more). This recording is considered by many to be the pick of those three recordings and one of the best recordings of the Bartok CFO ever made. The scribblings elsewhere on this page under the heading of Editorial Review give some of the background of the piece and this recording, so on to the specifics.

The BSO had the reputation of being the most suave of American orchestras at the time that this recording was made. Charles Munch had instilled this musical sensibility during his tenure as Music Director in the 1950s and early 1960s, and it was continued under the guidance of Erich Leinsdorf. William Steinberg had not been around long enough to affect the orchestra's penchant for supple, silky, somewhat reserved music-making, and Seiji Ozawa was just beginning his long engagement. So although the Concerto for Orchestra had been written for the BSO in 1943 (one of several works commissioned for the founding of the Koussevitzky Foundation; Stravinsky's Ode and William Schuman's Symphony for Strings were also early Foundation commissions), thirty years later the BSO may not have been thought of as an ideal ensemble to project the characterful colorations, jagged intervals, shifting rhythms, and exuberant swirlings of Bartok's soundscape.

Rafael Kubelik stepped onto the podium and showed how irrelevant generalizations of an orchestra's character can be. He elicited from the BSO not only the éclat and lyricism of the piece, which was expected, but the brooding and weird aspects of the music, which wasn't expected. There is loving attention to detail in this performance, particularly in the woodwinds. The whole effect brings an exceptional clarity to the piece, along with the occasional frisson which is a part of just about any music by Bartok.

The other Bartok concerto on this release is a work that is as marginal in Bartok's oeuvre as the Concerto for Orchestra is central: the Viola Concerto. This is one of the two concertos that Bartok was working on in his waning days, the Third Piano Concerto being the other piece. Neither concerto was completed before Bartok died; Bartok's close associate Tibor Serly took on the task of putting both works in a performable state. The Third Piano Concerto involved orchestrating the last seventeen bars; the Viola Concerto required shaping most of the work from the scraps and sketches left by Bartok, a task that took three years. The result is understandably problematic, but engaging. The two Daniels, Benyamini and Barenboim, with the Orchestre de Paris, give the piece a committed performance

Both recordings were done in 1970s analog, converted to digital for the initial CD release. There is not an indication that this edition was remastered. The sound in the Concerto for Orchestra tends to be distant, although full, and a bit harsh in the upper registers of the strings; the Viola Concerto is somewhat airier in sound.

Thanks to the folks at the Eloquence label for another release that restores some sterling recordings to the catalog. Check out their offerings by entering the label name in Search, or, better, by using Advanced Search/Classical and Opera.

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