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Bartók: Piano Concertos, Etc / Barenboim, Menuhin, Boulez


Release Date: 10/07/2003 
Label:  Emi Great Recordings Of The Century Catalog #: 62623   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Béla Bartók
Performer:  Daniel BarenboimYehudi Menuhin
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia OrchestraBBC Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

In the two Bartók Rhapsodies...the contrast is even clearer, the contrast is even clearer, for though Menuhin does not achieve the polish and sheer virtuosity one finds in Stern's playing, his assumption of an earthy peasant manner is brilliantly effective in music that is not among BartOk's most cogent or compelling. This emphasis on the folk element is beautifully—and again perhaps surprisingly—matched by Boulez's accompaniment. The cimbalom is too closely balanced at the opening of No. 1, but generally the warmth of the recording matches the performances.

-- Edward Greenfield, Gramophone [3/1969]
reviewing the Rhapsodies on LP


Maybe the rather anonymous 1960s LP cover design or
Read more lukewarm reviews didn’t help sales at the time, but this Boulez/Barenboim/Bartók association became no Dreamworks, and remained a one-off. A shame, as there are fine things here: real frisson in the transition to the Allegro molto of the First Concerto, and a fair degree of relaxed warmth and sympathy for the Third Concerto, especially spontaneous in the closing Allegro vivace. As with the majority of 1960s EMI Abbey Road productions, the sound itself remains seductive and detailed, and these “Great Recordings of the Century” transfers sound a good deal better than my old LP. The Anda/Fricsay and Kovacevich/Davis partnerships are better known, more dexterously brilliant and pianistically accurate. They’re still reliable vintage guides to the whole cycle; Kocsis is no slouch, either. Those interested in these fresh-sounding EMI performances should investigate soon, as they tend to be passing migrant birds in the catalog, rather than roosters.

The Menuhin versions of the Bartók Rhapsodies are unlikely to tip the scales. The great violinist and friend of the composer plays with huge, committed intensity right from the first bar, suggesting there’s far more to these pieces than reassembled folklore, but the impression can be one of strain. The Second Rhapsody is the more interesting, and fares best under this partnership. The orchestra hasn’t that much to do, and if you’re happy with a recording you already own with piano or orchestra, then stick with it. But hear this disc for a unique approach to the concertos.

-- Paul Ingram, FANFARE [3/2004]
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Works on This Recording

1. Concerto for Piano no 1, Sz 83 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Daniel Barenboim (Piano)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; Budapest, Hungary 
Date of Recording: 07/1967 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
2. Concerto for Piano no 3, Sz 119 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Daniel Barenboim (Piano)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; USA 
Date of Recording: 07/1967 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
3. Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra no 1, Sz 87 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin (Violin)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; Budapest, Hungary 
Date of Recording: 1968 
4. Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra no 2, Sz 90 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin (Violin)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; Budapest, Hungary 
Date of Recording: 1968 

Sound Samples

Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1 Sz83 (2003 Digital Remaster): Allegro moderato - Allegro - Allegro moderato
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1 Sz83 (2003 Digital Remaster): Andante
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1 Sz83 (2003 Digital Remaster): Allegro molto
Rhapsody No. 1 Sz87 (2003 Digital Remaster)
Rhapsody No.2 (1928 rev.1944) (2003 Digital Remaster)
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 3 Sz119 (2003 Digital Remaster): Allegretto
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 3 Sz119 (2003 Digital Remaster): Adagio religioso
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 3 Sz119 (2003 Digital Remaster): Allegro vivace

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