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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic performances of great music
Marvellous music - the Second Concerto must surely be the most exciting concert work of the 20th century, and it gets a cracking performance here. Anda and Fricsay were the leading advocates of their countryman's concerti in the years after the war, giving about 60 performances of the Second alone. This is a digital remastering of their classic 1960 recordings. The...
Published on 23 Nov 2000 by bossa_nova

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0 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars confusing work without character
confusing work without character. quality of sound / performance poor - would recommend the LSO recordings or the violin works of Bartok
Published 11 months ago by Market is watching


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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic performances of great music, 23 Nov 2000
This review is from: Bartók: Piano Concertos 1-3 (Audio CD)
Marvellous music - the Second Concerto must surely be the most exciting concert work of the 20th century, and it gets a cracking performance here. Anda and Fricsay were the leading advocates of their countryman's concerti in the years after the war, giving about 60 performances of the Second alone. This is a digital remastering of their classic 1960 recordings. The Third Concerto is Bartok's farewell to the world - it is a great work with an Appolonian grace and poise, and Anda's performance has long been a favourite of mine. Both Anda and Fricsay died young, and this reissue is very welcome.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars precision and panache, 25 Aug 2006
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This review is from: Bartók: Piano Concertos 1-3 (Audio CD)
If your view of Geza Anda as a pianist has been coloured by his pioneering but uneven cycle of the Mozart concertos, then this disc will be a revelation. The partnership with Fricsay clearly drew sparks from both, and there is a sense of electricity and danger about the fast movements which shows they were completely at one in this fascinating music. The slow movements reveal a dark, longing quality which reflects the call of their Hungarian homeland for composer, conductor and soloist alike. Highly recommended.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive, 15 Sep 2008
This review is from: Bartók: Piano Concertos 1-3 (Audio CD)
These performances are totally idiomatic and natural but are also obviously very carefully prepared. The recording is astounding for its age, allowing us to hear the texture of these extraordinary works fully. I haven't heard many alternatives but the Anda/Fricsay abounds in sheer character and personality in comparison to say the Donohoe/Rattle set, which is also beautifully done. Along with Reiner's Bartok this is right at the top of the stereo recommendations for orchestral Bartok.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three more masterworks from Hungary's greatest master, 6 Dec 2009
By 
John Ferngrove (Hants UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bartók: Piano Concertos 1-3 (Audio CD)
The three piano concertos should be fairly early stops on any journey of discovery into Bartók's extraordinary world, and this disc provides terrific accounts of all three, despite their being digital remasterings of recordings made in 1960. These performances were created by a partnership that had devoted much of their careers to winning audiences over to these works of their fellow countrymen, in the years when his music's reputation for being difficulty was still fresh. The result is performances that have the electricity and sparkle one would expect from the very best of live situations, despite their being made in the studio. To be sure there is the slightest hiss in the background silence, but when the music is underway all such distraction is swept aside.

If forced to choose a favourite then it would have to be the 2nd (1931), which sees Bartók, in the first movement, at his most ebullient and joyous, and the music abounding with those beautiful fairy-tale fanfares that signified his brightest idiom. This first movement is architecturally huge, with themes clashing, colliding and mutating in the foreground, against a background of multitudinous layers that suggest indefinite depths. The second movement is a mischievous presto of great brilliance sandwiched between a pair of adagios of brooding tragic nobility. In these adagios the piano's interactions with hushed foreboding timpani yield to simple, but beautiful chord progressions in the strings. In the brief but intense third movement piano and orchestra struggle intricately to generate a fierce and highly syncopated drama, but echoes of the golden fanfares from the first movement intervene to ultimately force a bright conclusion from this stormy material.

The first movement of the 1st concerto (1926) sees relentless, marching staccato stamping down every effort by more friendly material to assert itself. There is a ghoulish grin to this stabbing music, like monsters from a fairy tale, an expression perhaps of Bartók's highly developed macabre side. In the second movement the dark forces released in the first congeal into something slow and sinister, in which simple piano lines engage with edgy percussion, in a manner that must surely have formed the model for his masterpiece of later life Bartok: Sonata For Two Pianos & Percussion. The movement builds towards a diabolical crescendo, from which it recedes before an abrupt announcement of the fierce and tumultuous final movement. Out of this tumult other material of brighter more open modalities, suggestive of the pealing of bells, tries to emerge, blossoming at one point into something that would seem to be a nod at Stravinsky's Firebird. But the work ends in violence, bringing to a close a dark but exhilarating fantasy of an almost gothic flavour.

In biographies of Bartók we are told of his love of nature, his proclivity for walking and his genuine affection for the peasants of the Hungarian countryside, and their simpler, quieter way of life. I had not been able to discern nature or the pastoral in Bartók's music until a close listening to the 3rd Piano Concerto (1945). This is particularly so in its simple but beautiful first movement. Although written in American exile, in the years of his final illness, it is hard to hear this as anything other than a nostalgic and affectionate hearkening back to the countryside of his lost homeland. The gorgeous pathos of the second movement is rendered all the more intriguing by its marking of Adagio religioso by a man who was a staunchly declared atheist. Despite being written at a time of sickness and hardship the final movement is as bright and vivacious as anything in his output. It was incomplete at the time of his death and it fell to his friend, Tibor Serly, to complete the orchestration of the seventeen bars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "THE" version to have, 4 Aug 2012
By 
Mr. Christopher Harris "Chris in Brum" (Birmingham UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bartók: Piano Concertos 1-3 (Audio CD)
I have just bought a new hifi and have been listening to all my old CDs. This morning I thought to myself "The Anda Bartok" and I put it on. What a wonderful rediscovery of absolutely classic performances. I originally had these versions on vinyl (and can still recall the LP cover) and they were great then and they are great now. Ok the recordings are not perhaps as good as you might get from top flight modern versions (I find the string tone a bit thin) but the musicality is supreme. Anda's 3rd is my desert island disk, ie the one I would save, but the other concertos are wonderful too.

If you only have one version of these works this is the one to have.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dramatic Bartok, 19 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Bartók: Piano Concertos 1-3 (Audio CD)
I had this as an LP in the sixties and it was a big favourite. It must have been astonishing when first played all those years ago, nothing quite like it totally revolutionary at the time. It stands this test of time, dramatic and colourful, full of moods, pauses and fast and slow tempos. Orchestra and piano interplay are superb, soaring runs on the piano followed by orchestral crescendos and then back to thoughtful moods again.
One of the great Bartok classical recordings.
Highly recommended.
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0 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars confusing work without character, 9 May 2013
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This review is from: Bartók: Piano Concertos 1-3 (Audio CD)
confusing work without character. quality of sound / performance poor - would recommend the LSO recordings or the violin works of Bartok
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Bartók: Piano Concertos 1-3
Bartók: Piano Concertos 1-3 by Géza Anda (Audio CD - 1995)
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