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Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra/ Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta (Naxos: 8.572486) CD

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Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra/ Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta (Naxos: 8.572486) + Bartok : String Quartets Nos 1 - 6 [Complete]  -  Apex
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Marin Alsop
  • Composer: Béla Bartók
  • Audio CD (30 April 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B007CWNVA0
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 190,242 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Concerto for Orchestra, BB 123: I. Introduzione: Andante non troppo - Allegro vivaceBaltimore Symphony Orchestra 9:54Album Only
Listen  2. Concerto for Orchestra, BB 123: II. Giuoco delle coppie: Allegretto scherzandoBaltimore Symphony Orchestra 6:39£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Concerto for Orchestra, BB 123: III. Elegia: Andante non troppoBaltimore Symphony Orchestra 7:30£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Concerto for Orchestra, BB 123: IV. Intermezzo interrotto: AllegrettoBaltimore Symphony Orchestra 4:17£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Concerto for Orchestra, BB 123: V. Finale: PrestoBaltimore Symphony Orchestra 9:40Album Only
Listen  6. Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, BB 114: I. Andante tranquilloBaltimore Symphony Orchestra 7:11£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, BB 114: II. AllegroBaltimore Symphony Orchestra 7:37£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, BB 114: III. AdagioBaltimore Symphony Orchestra 7:34£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, BB 114: IV. Allegro moltoBaltimore Symphony Orchestra 6:57£0.89  Buy MP3 

Product Description

CD Description

Bela Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra, one of his greatest works, was written in the United States after the composer was forced to flee Hungary during World War II. It is not only a brilliant display vehicle for each instrumental section but a work of considerable structural ingenuity that unites classical forms and sonorities with the pungency of folk rhythms and harmonies. Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta explores darker moods through a score of marvelously poised symmetry. This release follows Marin Alsop's 'riveting' (Gramophone) Baltimore Symphony recordings of Dvorak's symphonies.


**** 'Two classical Bartók works are performed with pungency and bite here. Marin Alsop transmits persuasive ideas about pacing, rhythmic emphasis and instrumental colouring, conjuring up also the spectral atmosphere that is so much a part of the Elegia in the 'Concerto for Orchestra'. The orchestra's definition and intensity are equal assets in a vibrant interpretation of the 'Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta'.' --The Daily Telegraph, Review, May 5th 2012

**** 'Two quintessential Bartók works in fine performances, and at an irresistible price. The Concerto for Orchestra, in particular, is a piece that suits Marin Alsop down to the ground, and one that allows her to put her Baltimore players through their paces...Alsop responds to all these facets of the piece with both intelligence and vitality, producing a vivid performance.' --BBC Music Magazine, June 2012

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tintagel on 7 Jun 2012
Format: Audio CD
This is a goodish performance of the Concerto for Orchestra, but if you want something with a lots more in the way of guts and first then you'll need to look elsewhere. Kocsis, Fischer, Solti (either) and Boulez (either) all deliver something that is altogether more - well - temperamental. Choose one of those if you only want one version, but read on if you want more detail.

The opening Introduzione has plenty of atmosphere, with an almost song-like quality to the lower strings. The very searching flute melody is well done, but I was left wondering if more clarity would have helped with the trumpet lines that follow - the recording really seems to blunt the impact of the brass here. The strings certainly don't sound muffled and play with a pleasing sheen, though it does seem somewhat `polite', quite without the lacerating effect of Fischer's Budapest Festival Orchestra. The faster sections that follow continue in an easy-going and quite unconfrontational vein. Around 5 minutes in the woodwinds seem to create a magically mysterious atmosphere, and this is nicely broken up by a trumpet that now sounds clearer, but overall it is more of a `searching', introspective first movement than you might find elsewhere. The horns just sound too reticent, and at the close of the movement the strings need to sound a lot more tense and agitated, I reckon.

The next movement starts rather well with playful bassoons singing their tune with plenty of wit. I don't care much for the North American Oboe sound, and this Orchestra is no exception - it sounds like it's simply trying too hard to play on the elegiac nature of the instrument - but it's still fun. But why are the trumpets so reticent in their section? They play well, but where is the character?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By leslie on 31 Jan 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
For me a disappointing interpretation of the Concerto. Prefer the old Fritz Reiner Chicago Phil on Victrola LP in the 60s.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By schumann_bg TOP 100 REVIEWER on 19 Jun 2012
Format: Audio CD
This disc brings out the more mysterious, magical side of Bartok as opposed to the edgier, even savage facet of his writing. There is plenty of air around the instruments which allows the sense of the concert hall to be felt - an air charged with atmosphere it is, too. The strings have a tendency to really dig into the music and find the feeling that underpins it, with none of the glassiness I have sometimes felt on older recordings. It feels as if Bartok is telling a story ... in spite of the classicism of both works, there is a palette of many colours produced by the Baltimore orchestra, particularly in the Concerto. Marin Alsop shapes every phrase with acute attention to dynamics and the result is compelling and makes you feel Bartok was one of the great orchestrators. The Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta is an elusive score that seems to express sadness in the slow movements, but there is also an intensity that is more abstract, that comes from the tautness of the structure and the working out of the ideas. This cannot be given a name, but it compels the ear and is paradoxically liberating, a bit like working out the meaning of a text in a difficult foreign language. You feel braced by it, and this is backed up by the faster music. How magical the syncopated chords over string pizzicato in the second movement, here delivered with superb immediacy in the sound. There is the directness that comes across in Alsop's live appearances and makes her one of the most wonderful and balanced of conductors, in fact there is no conductor I would rather hear than her! There is no ego thing going on, as you so often feel with others, but a workmanlike approach joined to the most vivid imagination and sense of the composer's universe - you know that you are in the best possible hands.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
*** 1/2 Solid readings, if decidedly middle of the road 9 Aug 2012
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Marin Alsop's Bartok cycle on Naxos has struck me as attractive and middle of the road. Bartok wrote a handful of orchestral masterpieces that have been recorded by great conductors with virtuoso orchestras. It's hard to get excited about middling good. Alsop's tactic in the Concerto for Orchestra is to back away from the bravura and flash of most readings - and that's a viable approach. The result is unusually low key, ad since Naxos' recording doesn't throw us into the middle of the orchestra, the reading seems even more low key.

But there were times n every movement that low key turned to slack as the rhythmic edges were smoothed out. For all the nice atmospheric touches, especially in the night music that begins the third movement, my attention wandered. Perhaps there's no going back now that the Concerto for Orch. has become a showpiece. In the finale, which is the most difficult music to play technically, Alsop's cautious tempo gives the impression of trying to make things easier for the Baltimore musicians.

The same holds true for the Music fro Strings, Percussion, and Celesta, although being less frequently played and not a showpiece that everyone has recorded a hundred times, the score gives Alsop more room to try something new. She romanticizes the opening movement, which probably isn't what the composer intended - he set it out with mathematical precision - but her way is appealing. The performance as a whole benefits from the clarity of the recorded sound, which is quite natural at capturing the strings and piano, a big plus compared with older recordings. We're still in the middle of the road, and Hungarian flavor isn't on the menu, yet this reading of MFSPC did hold my attention from beginning to end.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Concerto for Orchestra: Not only Bartók's, but Marin's triumphirat too. And still the siren sings... 30 Aug 2012
By Cornelis De Rooij - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This kind of music is rare and seldom surpassed in its joy for life although the composer was on the brink of mental breakdown caused by a personal bankruptcy and severe illness when he wrote it in commission of the Koussevitzky Society memorizing Sergei's late wife Natalie. Marin and the Baltimoreans have picked up this fenomenon very well. With great understanding of the music of the first half of the 20th century they played every note with a sparkle of livelyness. Glittering Debussian varnish followed by deep Mahlerian drama. This piece will surprise in every bar, move and corner it rounds.
Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta breaths completely different mood and atmosphere. More grimm and dark. Only in the Allegro Molto there is a, deceiving, kind of uplift. This music is composed in the wake of the Second World War and is predicting it: Premature war music?
The sound of these recordings are well-balanced, luxurious and warm at the same time. (Naxos recordings aren't so clear and tranparent like those of HM, DG and EMI by example, the well-known Naxos blanket is often covering the sound image of many recordings.)
Another fine gem to add to collection and to listen joy for many times. And the price to laugh about.
Naxos started a revolution and it ain't over yet, more have to follow...
And Marin deserves more credits than she gets nowadays: Many glittering prizes but less credibality that counts.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Effective and idiomatic 11 July 2012
By mjackmm - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Or at least it sounds so to me. I have been deeply connected to this music for over 50 yrs. This recording is as good as any. It is better than Reiner? Not necessarily. However, I enjoyed it more than Boulez.
A solid performance, though not exceptional 27 Feb 2013
By John J. Puccio - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Ms. Alsop treats this death-to-life progression as well as almost anyone, although there are times when one wishes she had made the contrasts even more pointed. Best of all, she never sentimentalizes or glamorizes the music in the style of, say, a Karajan. She keeps it spare.

John J. Puccio
Classical Candor
Meh 19 Nov 2012
By Classic Music Lover - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Conductor Marin Alsop is outclassed by several other conductors in these Bartok interpretations. The Baltimore Symphony players don't seem to be jumping out of their seats, either.

Many people prefer Hungarian conductors in this repertoire -- Ivan Fischer, Fritz Reiner, George Szell, etc.

As for me, I have two words for the Concerto and the Music for SP&C: "Antal Dorati." You can't go wrong with a master like him.
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