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Sir Georg Solti - The Last Recording - Bartók, Kodály, Weiner


Release Date: 05/12/1998 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 458929   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Béla BartókZoltán KodályLeó Weiner
Performer:  Alexandru AgacheTamás Daróczy
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hungarian Radio/TV ChorusBudapest Festival OrchestraHungarian Radio/TV Children's Chorus,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 59 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

It is apt, if ironic, that these very last recordings of Sir Georg Solti, product of sessions in Budapest last June, three months before his sudden death, should make up the perfect valedictory disc. Ironically too, these were his very first recordings made in his native Hungary with Hungarian musicians. Solti’s plan was to pay tribute to his three great teachers at the Liszt Conservatoire in Budapest, not only in this recording but in a concert of the same three representative works, designed to round off this year’s (1998) Budapest Spring Festival.

In the event the concert went ahead as a memorial to Solti with most of the same performers conducted by Ivan Fischer. Here on the disc, with incandescent singing from the choirs
Read more and incisive playing from the orchestra, we have what might have been, and very welcome it is. In his final reconciliation with his native land (which, as he always pointed out, rejected him twice over, both under the Fascists and the Communists) Solti found extra warmth in music he loved, while keeping the biting intensity which was always a hallmark of his conducting.

As he explains in the accompanying booklet, Solti came finally to feel that the story of Bartok’s Cantata profana – about nine sons turned by magic into stags, who finally return home – symbolized his own life-story. The chorus, as I say, sing superbly, with the Romanian baritone, Alexander Agache, a strong and dark soloist.

[Tamás Daróczy's] singing is the drawback in the Kodaly .... None the less, what matters is the incandescence of the whole performance. This was a work which Solti recorded in mono right at the beginning of his years with Decca (10/54 – nla), but with glowing digital sound, reflecting the helpful acoustic of the Italian Institute in Budapest, the piece is transformed, particularly with such idiomatic singing and playing.

The rarity here is the Serenade of Leo Weiner, the teacher closest to Solti in his student days, one who both challenged him and drew him out. The amiability of this music, far less individual, less specifically Hungarian than that of Bartok or Kodaly, seems to reflect Weiner’s character as Solti’s mentor. Beautifully written in four cleanly constructed movements, this is a delightful piece full of fresh, crisply conceived ideas, as in the easygoing sonata-form first movement. The warmly responsive woodwind soloists of the Budapest Festival Orchestra come into their own in the interlude of the third movement with its sequence of solos getting faster, in turn for clarinet, bassoon, oboe and flute. Solti could never have conceived a more winning last offering on disc.

-- Edward Greenfield, Gramophone [6/1998]
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Works on This Recording

1. Cantata Profana, Sz 94 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Alexandru Agache (Baritone), Tamás Daróczy (Tenor)
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hungarian Radio/TV Chorus,  Budapest Festival Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; Budapest, Hungary 
Date of Recording: 06/1997 
Venue:  Italian Institute, Budapest, Hungary 
Length: 18 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Language: Hungarian 
2. Psalmus hungaricus, Op. 13 by Zoltán Kodály
Performer:  Tamás Daróczy (Tenor)
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hungarian Radio/TV Chorus,  Hungarian Radio/TV Children's Chorus,  Budapest Festival Orchestra  ... 
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; Hungary 
Date of Recording: 06/1997 
Venue:  Italian Institute, Budapest, Hungary 
Length: 21 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Language: Hungarian 
3. Serenade in F minor, Op. 3 by Leó Weiner
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Festival Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1906; Hungary 
Date of Recording: 06/1997 
Venue:  Italian Institute, Budapest, Hungary 
Length: 19 Minutes 58 Secs. 

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