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Bartok: Concerto For Orchestra, Etc / Mariss Jansons, Et Al

Release Date: 05/04/2004 
Label:  Emi Classics Encore Catalog #: 75620   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Béla Bartók
Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 8 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

I know we shouldn’t take these things too literally, but when I asked myself if this 1990 reissue on EMI Classics was, indeed, a “classic,” I had to answer in the negative. It is, however, a very good disc, and a nice bargain at its budget price. The problem is that it has stiff competition. While there are lots of equally fine versions on the market, Fritz Reiner’s RCA recording of these two scores with the Chicago Symphony is a classic, and deserves to be in every collection. Of course, collectors enjoy having alternative performances, and Jansons’s performance of the Concerto for Orchestra especially has much to recommend itself.

Reiner’s interpretations of Bartók were so convincing because he (aided in no small
Read more part by the virtuosity of the CSO, circa 1955–58) controlled every detail so thoroughly—finely gauged tempos, brilliant orchestral colors, and well-constructed dramatic events—making the music sound inevitable. Naturally, Jansons’s approach differs in some key ways—for example, in the concerto his internal tempo shifts are slightly more exaggerated, favoring marginally slower episodes which clarify textures and reveal important instrumental details that are frequently buried, like those of the harp, but at the same time lack the rhythmic snap Reiner generates throughout, most noticeably in the finale. While not particularly damaging in the concerto, this effects the Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta more so, where Jansons’s measured phrasing betrays the differences in tonal qualities between the CSO and the Oslo-ers, who cannot match the punch of the CSO horns or the fullness of their strings. Jansons makes a good case for both works, but Reiner reigns supreme. Still, for an alternative point of view, and at this price, you could do worse.

-- Art Lange, Fanfare
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Orchestra, Sz 116 by Béla Bartók
Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; USA 
Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, Sz 106 by Béla Bartók
Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Budapest, Hungary 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 A Good Performance and Recording September 22, 2016 By owen  ryan (lakewood, CA) See All My Reviews "It's unfortunate that this is out of production. Penguin Guide found these to be ''outstanding performances of both works.'' Perhaps Warner will reissue this 1990 recording. The audio was very good on EMI's 2002 reissue (shown above)." Report Abuse
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