Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra (CD)

Current Stock:
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Sir Georg Solti

Recorded: Orchestra Hall, Chicago, January 1981 (Concerto; Suite) & November 1989

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Béla Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra, Sz. 116
1. Introduzione (Andante non troppo - Allegro vivace
2. Giuoco della coppie (Allegretto scherzando)
3. Elegia (Andante, non troppo)
4. Intermezzo interrotto (Allegretto)
5. Finale (Pesante - Presto)

Béla Bartók: Dance Suite, Sz. 77
1. Moderato
2. Allegro molto
3. Allegro vivace
4. Molto tranquillo
5. Comodo
6. Finale (Allegro)

Béla Bartók: Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, Sz. 106
1. Andante tranquillo
2. Allegro
3. Adagio
4. Allegro molto

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This CD, a fresh compilation of digital recordings made in 1981 and 1989 by Sir Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, appeared in January and immediately established itself as the prime recommendation for this repertory. Listening to it – which for shear joy I did again and again – I was reminded of how Sir Georg and his band would arrive at Carnegie Hall every year and play their party pieces as if nobody else had any business even tuning up. When it came to Bartók, they owned him. The performances captured here are dynamic, cohesive, and blazingly well played. I don’t think the Dance Suite has ever been better played or recorded, and the accounts of the Concerto for Orchestra and Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta rival the same orchestra’s legendary 1950s readings with Reiner, without the tape-era graininess. Sonic felicities abound. Imaging side-to-side as well as front-to-back is uncannily precise. One can easily pick out wind doublings, hear the solo first violins in the Dance Suite as an actual foursome, follow piano and percussion parts through the texture, and note the use of different mutes in the brass, or how, even in ppp, the bass drum moves a ton of air.
– Ted Libbey, author of The NPR Guide to Building a Classical CD Collection

The most breathtaking passage for demonstration in this brilliant account of the Concerto for Orchestra comes at the beginning of the coda in the finale...You might feel that for realism it makes itself too apparent, but it is a sound such as I have never heard reproduced before through loudspeakers...As for the performances they may not have quite the sparkle and point which marked those which Solti recorded with the LSO in a similar coupling 16 years earlier, but they have an authentic Hungarian bite and point which alongside Chicago virtuosity is unbeatable.
- Edward Greenfield, Gramophone [3/1983]

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