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Pierre Boulez conducts Bartok


Release Date: 05/27/2016 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 88883797762   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Béla Bartók
Performer:  Tatiana TroyanosSiegmund Nimsgern
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York PhilharmonicCamerata SingersSchola Cantorum New York,   ... 
Number of Discs: 4 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

For reasons that defy understanding, Sony has been unable to include this excellent performance of Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra in any prior reissue set before this one. It came out solo as one of those “brown paper bag” Great Performances discs in the early days of CD, then as an SACD only at the dawn of that technology. Now, finally, Sony has gathered together all of Boulez’s Bartók in an inexpensive box, and the performances are notably superior to the conductor’s DG remakes.

The principal difference between Boulez early and late is the greater rhythmic sharpness and violence that Boulez gets from the New York Philharmonic in works such as The Miraculous Mandarin and the Dance Suite. The Four Orchestral
Read more Pieces also benefit from playing of greater trenchancy and impact: just listen to the way the scherzo snaps and snarls. Indeed, this disc, containing the Four Pieces, the Three Village Scenes, and The Miraculous Mandarin (complete) remains one of Boulez’s greatest recordings of anything, and The Wooden Prince is just as fine.

This version of Bluebeard’s Castle is also notably superior to Boulez’s DG remake. Tatiana Troyanos gives an impressive vocal portrait of Judith’s gradual evolution from timidity to strength. That high C at the opening of the fifth door, held for an extra couple of bars, really captures in a single note the distance she has travelled since the beginning, while Siegmund Nimsgern’s youthful and steady baritone matches her note for note. In these circumstances, Boulez and the BBC Symphony are less of a presence than they might have been, but that’s hardly a serious liability.

Curiously, the one work that Boulez never seemed to “get,” even though he recorded it more than once, is the Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta. Granted, the BBC strings aren’t great, but the problem is a distinct lack of ferocity in the second and fourth movements, and a kind of “plain Jane” lack of atmosphere everywhere else. It’s certainly not a bad performance, but it’s hardly as gripping as it might have been, especially given the excellence of everything else in this set. That one caveat aside, this is a pretty terrific set and I’m happy to see it back at a bargain price.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Pieces (4) for Orchestra, Op. 12/Sz 51 by Béla Bartók
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912/1921; Budapest, Hungary 
2.
Three Village Scenes, Sz 79 by Béla Bartók
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Camerata Singers,  New York Philharmonic
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; Budapest, Hungary 
3.
Miraculous Mandarin, Op. 19/Sz 73 by Béla Bartók
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Schola Cantorum New York,  New York Philharmonic
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918-1919; Budapest, Hungary 
Language: Hungarian 
4.
Concerto for Orchestra, Sz 116 by Béla Bartók
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; USA 
5.
Wooden Prince, Op. 13/Sz 60: Suite by Béla Bartók
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914-1917; Budapest, Hungary 
6.
Dance Suite for Orchestra, Sz 77 by Béla Bartók
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; Budapest, Hungary 
7.
Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, Sz 106 by Béla Bartók
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Budapest, Hungary 
8.
Bluebeard's Castle, Op. 11/Sz 48 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Tatiana Troyanos (Mezzo Soprano), Siegmund Nimsgern (Baritone)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911/1918; Budapest, Hungary 
Language: Hungarian 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 terrific performances many of which were in quadr April 9, 2017 By S. Livingston (Lenox, MA) See All My Reviews "Pierre Boulez provides us with fresh and insightful performances with razor sharp performances by several different ensembles. The only real disappointment is that Sony should have released all of these performances in SACD instead of standard CD. For a company that invented and released material in DSD, they have certainly failed to understand how many people enjoy that format. Thankfully, I have the Concerto for Orchestra and Miraculous Manderin in SACD. I bought this set to enjoy these performances anywhere, since the SACD is only one layer and not compatible with a standard CD player. This single layer SACD is one of the main reasons for the slow acceptance of this format. Today, many other companies have given us wonderful recordings in the DSD, SACD format. However, as I said enjoy these performances, they are a part of my essential library." Report Abuse
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