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Bartok: Complete Solo Piano Music Box set

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

Price: £21.17 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (27 Oct. 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Vox
  • ASIN: B00008X5AY
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 198,009 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I would recommend this recording to anyone. Chose it because I thought the friendship between the composer and pianist meant that it would be played as Bartok wanted it. Love it !
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Format: Audio CD
This set contains piano music of varying levels of complexity and Gyorgy Sandor plays engagingly throughout . The simpler pieces have a pleasing meditative quality and the sound is good .
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x91ffb2ac) out of 5 stars 9 reviews
59 of 59 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x920039c0) out of 5 stars An essential set for Bartók lovers and pianophiles 20 Jun. 2003
By J Einhorn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Once again, the underrated Vox Classics outclasses the Big Five with another superb and almost obscenely inexpensive box set -- this one bringing together their landmark survey of Béla Bartók's complete solo piano music by Bartók's most well known protégé György Sándor, recorded in 1963 and released as a series of multi-LP sets in the mid-1960s.
For some reason, the solo piano music of Bartók has been overshadowed by a clutch of indisputable masterpieces (including but not limited to Concerto for Orchestra, Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, Piano Concerto No. 2, Violin Concerto No. 2, Quartets Nos. 2 and 5, the Solo Violin Sonata and Bluebeard's Castle). Perhaps it's because so much of the Bartók's solo piano music is still regarded as "pedagogic" -- as in the case of the Mikrokosmos and For Children cycles. Perhaps it is because so many of the works consist of many short movements -- and in this respect Bartók can to an extent be compared with Edvard Grieg, whose masterly short piano works get the short shrift.
If you are predisposed to dismiss this repertoire based on those prejudices, allow social critic and comedian Bill Maher to speak for me: "Get over yourself!" Make no mistake: this set is filled with so much delightful music that if you have a serious interest in Bartók, or in great piano music, or are a student or teacher of the piano, you are doing yourself a major disservice by not clicking that "add to my shopping cart" button.
And keep this in mind: you'd pay about the same amount for a front-line single disc of Bartók's major solo works containing the most well known works (In the Woods, Allegro Barbaro, the Sonata and the Suite) -- but you'd miss out on some genuine delights.
Transfers are generally excellent, and the booklet includes an informative 11-page essay on the music by Harry Halbreich.
47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9200996c) out of 5 stars Best classical value out there 5 Oct. 2005
By Jeffrey G. Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
To put this set in perspective, for months I would go to my local Tower Records fishing for worthwhile classical CDs at least once a week. One of the discs that sat in the bins the longest was a single CD of Bartok piano music, played by Zoltan Kocsis. It was Volume 7 of a complete series. This CD listed for $17.99, and as long as I went to that Tower Records, it did not budge an inch, nor was its price amended.

Now, Kocsis is one of the greatest pianists alive, and if anyone is worthy of commanding a premium, it is him. And to be fair, that CD is going to be re-released on October 11 as part of a Collector's Edition - eight CDs, $63.97 MSRP. But it's already going up against this little gem, which contains five CDs with all of the truly great solo-piano works by an internationally recognized Bartok specialist for $21 - not much more than the cost of one CD from the other set. This kind of value is not to be taken lightly.

I came to this set with my impression of Sandor informed by his complete Prokofiev - ultra-hard, sometimes rhythmically slack, always melodically lacking in some way or another. But he held a very special feeling for Bartok, and saved his best playing for the great Hungarian. In passages like the first of the Three Csik Dances, the opening of the Improvisations Op. 20, or in the Ten Easy Pieces, there is a simplicity, charm and wistful homesickness that is quite touching. In pieces like the Out of Doors suite, the Sonata, or the Burlesques, there is a vicious, impulsive energy, a wicked sense of humor and an overabundance of overtones. It is never mindless, inappropriate or even overly harsh - it's just very, very loud.

In this set I like best the endless landscape of the Sonatina, the unusual colors and fragrances in the Etudes, the brilliantly conceived Bear Dance (the last of the Ten Easy Pieces), and the multifaceted, complex, gorgeous Improvisations. Any fan of Bartok should hear these.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x92003be8) out of 5 stars Microcosmos 8 Mar. 2007
By Ronan M. Conroy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Sándor was a champion not only of Bartók's music but also of Bartók's style of playing. He often complained that people were too quick to see Bartók as ultra-modern, and to fail to appreciate the rich seam of lyricism that also runs through his music.

The piano music is dominated by short pieces, many of them written for piano students, notably the collections "Microcosmos" and "For Children". These, together with suites of folk dance arrangements, make up the bulk of the solo piano output.

Sandór plays these short, and often simple pieces, with neither too much nor too little art. As a gifted teacher, he knew unerringly how much music each of these small vessels held. The result is beguiling - but be warned: no-one can listen to the 153 short pieces of Microcosmos end-to-end. This is an anthology to be dipped into, not swallowed whole.

The remastering is pretty successful (fortunately - some of Vox's CD reissues are plagued by severe deterioration of the original tapes). And it's for half nothing-what's not to like?
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x92009da4) out of 5 stars The best Bartok performer ever 21 May 2004
By Hiram Gòmez Pardo Venezuela - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I had the huge privilege of watching Mr. Sandor a couple times in Caracas. One of these he played the third Concert of Bela Bartok and the second recital December 9 1982 Sandor played The funerailles of Liszt, the Marozzek Dances of Kodaly and that incredible performance given of Outdoors from Bartok.
At the end of the recital he gave a brief interview and talked about his friend Bartok, a great man , very illustrated, and domained fourteen languages.
I knew about him many years before those recitals. When you listen Mr. Sandor above all, you have the absolute sensation you are in front an exceptional artist; honesty, conviction and overpowered pianistic skills .
This protegé of Bartok and exception witness of many interesting details about the life of this unique composer in XX century, gave the premiere of the third concert in 1945 with Ormandy and Philadelphia.
Sandor owns a gift approach that no one performer of Bartok has. And believe me, I've tried with Kocsis, Schiff, Anda, Perahia, Richter, among others. They are very good pianists but lack the wild conception and the roughness playing , they seem to be walking in a cloudy landscape, and his playing sounds OK but lack the idiomatic tone, percusiveness and incisiveness that Bartok demands for the performer.
Sandor in the peak of his pianistic powers (middle of the sixties) gives the best of his craft in these five CD that resumes a whole life, surrounded and permeated of livings and experience that can not be taken to the score.
Watch this set if you are a Bartok admirer as I do. And you can forget all the others performers.
28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x92009e4c) out of 5 stars Great value with a few flaws 28 July 2006
By Joshua Bryant - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I am not a Bartok expert by any scale, but I do like the way these pieces, without exception, are played. There are, however, a couple of other problems.

As mentioned by an earlier reviewer, very few of the works are split into tracks - Mikrokosmos is divided into 7 for each of its six volumes, and to accomodate for a full CD. In these seven tracks there are 121 songs. I would have much preferred if the songs had been split into tracks. Almost the entire CD set is this way - Fifteen Hungarian Songs is one track, Fourteen Bagatelles, etc. It is very annoying when one wants to hear a particular song in those tracks and not the others.

Another detriment to the collection is the recording quality. It is decent most of the time, but in loud sections the piano buzzes. One might be able to ignore it, but I think that it detracts from the passion of the forte quite a bit.

Overall, for $18 it is pretty decent, but if you are like me and like to keep your music library neatly organized (and aren't extremely cheap), I would not recommend this set.
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