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Bartok: Danses Populaires, Sonate, Suite, Etc / Helffer

Bartok / Helffer
Release Date: 01/11/2011 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi Musique D'abord Catalog #: 1951094   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Béla Bartók
Performer:  Claude Helffer
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 49 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Bartók's centenary year (1981) produced some fine recordings of his solo piano music, most especially from Murray Perahia, who coupled four of these works on CBS 76650 (9/81). Helfer adds the Romanian folk dances, but can be said, without going into detailed comparisons, to hold his own in any case. He plays the dances, for example, with much insight, his choices, and changes, of tempo and dynamics reflecting an exact understanding of these little pieces, so that they no longer sound hackneyed. A comparable flexibility is apparent in the initial Allegretto of Op. 14, plus an acute appreciation of Bartók's characteristic piano textures. Indeed, everything is played, and recorded, with unfailing clarity, even this Suite's Read more difficult Allegro molto. Helffer's precise articulation is just as much in evidence in slow, mysterious pieces such as the Lento of the Improvisations or "Night music" from Out of doors. And there is a beautiful reading of the Suite's concluding Sostenuto.

The Improvisations are a test of a player's promptness of response in terms of shifts in texture as well as tempo; it is a work that demands, and receives here, as from Perahia, the most intelligent sort of rubato. This performance of Out of doors is of a similar standard, with "Night music" showing particular sensitivity. All Helffer's playing has great rhythmic life—not just movements like "The chase" which ends this work. Only the Sonata gives rise to some mild reservations, in the sense that a stronger feeling of the music's largeness is conveyed by the classic Andor Foldes recording (DG mono 2740 232, 8/81—nla), or, again, by Perahia. This record can still be strongly recommended, however.

-- Gramophone [5/1983]
reviewing this title on LP
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Works on This Recording

1.
Romanian Folkdances (6) for Piano, Sz 56 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Claude Helffer (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915; Budapest, Hungary 
Date of Recording: 03/1982 
Length: 4 Minutes 12 Secs. 
2.
Suite for Piano, Op. 14/Sz 62 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Claude Helffer (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1916; Budapest, Hungary 
Date of Recording: 03/1982 
Length: 7 Minutes 57 Secs. 
3.
Improvisations (8) on Hungarian Peasant Songs, Op. 20/Sz 74 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Claude Helffer (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1920; Budapest, Hungary 
Date of Recording: 03/1982 
Length: 10 Minutes 59 Secs. 
4.
Out of Doors, Sz 81 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Claude Helffer (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; Budapest, Hungary 
Date of Recording: 03/1982 
Length: 13 Minutes 21 Secs. 
5.
Sonata for Piano, Sz 80 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Claude Helffer (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; Budapest, Hungary 
Date of Recording: 03/1982 
Length: 11 Minutes 41 Secs. 

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