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Grand Prix - Bartók: Piano Concertos No 1 & 2 / Pollini, Abbado


Release Date: 06/12/2007 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 000874702   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Béla Bartók
Performer:  Maurizio PolliniShlomo Mintz
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony OrchestraLondon Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Imported from : European Union   
CD not available: This title is currently only available as an MP3 download.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



BARTÓK Piano Concertos: No. 1; No. 2. 2 Portraits 1 Claudio Abbado; cond; Maurizio Pollini (pn); Shlomo Mintz (vn); 1 Chicago SO; London SO 1 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 000874702 (63:33)


Here is yet another reissue of the classic recordings of Bartók’s first two piano concertos, this time with an added bonus. These 1977 performances are cool, elegant, and Read more brilliant; Pollini’s playing is stunning, and the Chicago Symphony is on its best behavior, with an unmatched clarity that is abetted by the gorgeously clean DG recording. A highlight is the Adagio–Presto–Adagio movement of the Second Concerto; the Adagios have never been so eerily calm, the Presto so perfectly executed. The only real competition comes from Yefim Bronfman and Esa-Pekka Salonen on a Sony disc. Their performances have more sizzle and spice than these, at the cost of some of the clarity found here. But their biggest advantage is including all three concertos; it is a shame that Pollini and Abbado didn’t record the Third, which would benefit most of all from their elegance. This DG disc and the Sony are both so fine—and so different—as to be absolute musts.


The Two Portraits have been heard less often since the 1959 publication of Bartók’s 1908 First Violin Concerto, of which Portrait No. 1 (“One ideal”) is the opening Andante—that ideal being Bartók’s teenaged lover, the violinist Steffi Geyer. ArkivMusic.com offers a dozen discs of the Two Portraits , but many of them feature this recording, used by DG as a filler for several other CDs. Mintz’s tone is rather thin and dry in “One ideal.” I prefer the lush playing of Isaac Stern with Eugene Ormandy, in its First Concerto form. This pairing does allow us to hear the second Portrait (“One grotesque”), the composer’s own orchestral arrangement of a piano Bagatelle. It is a rousing early-Bartók piece, barely two minutes long, somewhat reminiscent of Stravinsky’s Fireworks of the same year (1908). This feisty performance serves it nicely.


FANFARE: James H. North
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Works on This Recording

1. Concerto for Piano no 1, Sz 83 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; Budapest, Hungary 
2. Concerto for Piano no 2, Sz 95 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930-1931; Budapest, Hungary 
3. Portraits (2) for Orchestra, Op. 5/Sz 37 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Shlomo Mintz (Violin)
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907-1911; Budapest, Hungary 

Sound Samples

Piano Concerto No.1, BB 91, Sz. 83: 1. Allegro moderato - Allegro
Piano Concerto No.1, BB 91, Sz. 83: 2. Andante
Piano Concerto No.1, BB 91, Sz. 83: 3. Allegro molto
Piano Concerto No.2, BB 101, Sz. 95: 1. Allegro
Piano Concerto No.2, BB 101, Sz. 95: 2. Adagio - Piů adagio - Presto
Piano Concerto No.2, BB 101, Sz. 95: 3. Allegro molto
2 Portraits, (Op.5) Sz. 37: 1. "Ideal"
2 Portraits, (Op.5) Sz. 37: One Grotesque - Presto

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