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Bartok / Les Violons Du Roy


Release Date: 09/30/2008 
Label:  Atma Classique   Catalog #: 2576   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Béla Bartók
Conductor:  Jean-Marie Zeitouni
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Violons du Roy
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



BARTÓK Divertimento. Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta. Romanian Folk Dances, Sz 56 (orch. Zeitouni) Jean-Marie Zeitouni, cond; Les Violons du Roy ATMA 2576 (64:48)


Divertimento: was there ever a more misleading title? It has confused listeners, commentators, and performers for half a century. Of five recordings by Hungarian conductors—Reiner, Serly, Solti, Dorati, and Fricsay—only the latter fully realizes the depths of this music. Read more Zeitouni does too, in the strongest, darkest reading of all. The first movement, Allegro ma non troppo, is a full minute slower than Reiner’s or Fricsay’s, yet packs plenty of rhythmic punch. The Molto adagio is mesmerizing, almost three minutes slower than Reiner’s. Les Violons du Roy, a 24-year-old chamber ensemble from Québec, has been beefed up to 22 strings (6/6/4/4/2) for these recordings. Its playing is gutsy yet elegant, ideal for Bartók’s late scores (1939, 1938). Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta is equally strong and sensitive, its Adagio especially deep and mysterious. This performance is virtually the equal of the great ones by the Chicago Symphony under Reiner and Solti, and at least as fine as any other. The recorded sound is exceptionally successful at capturing the dark silk of this ensemble’s strings; yet I am not as conscious of exact instrument placement in the work as is sometimes the case. Being aware of the score’s requirements, we have come to expect recordings to position every note in space, but I find the overall performance to be a more important matter.


Sz 56 identifies Bartók’s original piano version of the Romanian Folk Dances ; his own orchestration, for strings and winds, is Sz 68. Zeitouni apparently wanted to play them with the Music for Strings . . . forces: no winds, but plenty of percussion. Bartók’s exquisite colors are replaced by none-too-subtle bangs of excitement, much of it provided by drum and piano. But, hey! This is seven minutes of irresistible folk music, so let’s get down off our high horse and dance.


A glorious Bartók disc, a winner for the seasoned specialist or the newcomer to the game.


FANFARE: James H. North
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Works on This Recording

1.
Divertimento for String Orchestra, Sz 113 by Béla Bartók
Conductor:  Jean-Marie Zeitouni
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Violons du Roy
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; Budapest, Hungary 
2.
Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, Sz 106 by Béla Bartók
Conductor:  Jean-Marie Zeitouni
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Violons du Roy
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Budapest, Hungary 
3.
Romanian Folkdances (6) for Piano, Sz 56 by Béla Bartók
Conductor:  Jean-Marie Zeitouni
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Violons du Roy
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915; Budapest, Hungary 
Notes: Arranged for strings and piano.  

Featured Sound Samples

Music for Strings, Percussion & Celesta: IV. Allegro molto
Romanian Folkdances for Piano: I. Joc cu bâta

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