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Bartók: Divertimento, Dance Suite, Etc / Boulez, Chicago So


Release Date: 05/16/1995 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 445825   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Béla Bartók
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 12 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

There is much to admire here, not least the characteristically tough sonority of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra: resilient string choirs, lean (though occasionally rather nasal) winds, strident brass and vivid percussion. DG's recording keeps more or less every detail well within earshot, although I did miss those slyly insinuating trombones at the beginning of the Commodo movement of the Dance Suite (track 5) —ppp, yes, and perhaps a trifle over-accentuated on Boulez's 1972 New York recording, but still worth hearing. The Molto tranquillo fourth dance is swifter and less freely expressive than it was in 1972 whereas the Allegro finale is crisper but somewhat lacking in weight. Now, as before, t find Boulez's interpretation a little Read more overweight even though Bartok's ingenious constructions (harmonic and rhythmic as well as formal) could hardly be more clearly projected.

The Two Pictures reveal similar qualities, "In full flower" sounding like an extravagant extension of Debussy's "Nuages", while the "Village dance" - although not as wittily characterized as Muti's (see above) is usefully transparent. It is also interesting how, at 745" - where Bartok indicates an immediate drop to Largo followed by a dramatically accelerating sequence of orchestral chimes - Boulez is quicker off the mark than, say, Muti (710" into his). The Hungarian Sketches are beautifully played, the first piece especially, while "Bear Dance" has plenty of energy.

The concert ends, as it began, with a masterpiece - the Divertimento; this time, a smoothly executed affair with soli and tutti given more or less equal prominence. Here, the Allegro non troppo's frequent gear-changes sound effortless, and although the second violins at the start of the Molto adagio make a somewhat delayed entrance, that juggernaut of a crescendo at 356" is truly molto sostenuto - measured, sombre, desolate, if not quite as angry as the ensuing poco stringendo suggests. The most magical moment occurs at 804", a tender envoi between string bands culminating in an ethereal high phrase on violins. The finale is marked more by keen articulation than rustic energy (sample the cleanly delineated gracenotes at 342'), but taken as a whole, the performance is notably accomplished. As indeed is the whole programme save that the Dance Suite falls short of Dorati's earthy eroticism (a fundamental aspect of the work's basic character). In other respects, this disc is a worthy addition to an invaluable series.

-- Robert Cowan, Gramophone [9/1995]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Dance Suite for Orchestra, Sz 77 by Béla Bartók
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; Budapest, Hungary 
Date of Recording: 12/1992 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago, Illinois 
Length: 16 Minutes 37 Secs. 
2.
Pictures (2) for Orchestra, Op. 10/Sz 46 by Béla Bartók
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910; Budapest, Hungary 
Date of Recording: 12/1992 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago, Illinois 
Length: 18 Minutes 28 Secs. 
3.
Hungarian Sketches (5), Sz 97 by Béla Bartók
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931; Budapest, Hungary 
Date of Recording: 12/1993 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago, Illinois 
Length: 10 Minutes 51 Secs. 
4.
Divertimento for String Orchestra, Sz 113 by Béla Bartók
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; Budapest, Hungary 
Date of Recording: 12/1993 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago, Illinois 
Length: 26 Minutes 12 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Dance Suite, Sz. 77: 1. Moderato
Dance Suite, Sz. 77: 2. Allegro molto
Dance Suite, Sz. 77: 3. Allegro vivace
Dance Suite, Sz. 77: 4. Molto tranquillo
Dance Suite, Sz. 77: 5. Comodo
Dance Suite, Sz. 77: 6. Finale (Allegro)
2 Pictures, (Op.10) Sz. 46: In voller Blüte
2 Pictures, (Op.10) Sz. 46: Dorftanz
Hungarian Sketches, Sz. 97: 1. An Evening in the Village
Hungarian Sketches, Sz. 97: 2. Bear Melody
Hungarian Sketches, Sz. 97: 3. Melody
Hungarian Sketches, Sz. 97: 4. Slightly Tipsy
Hungarian Sketches, Sz. 97: 5. Swineherd's Dance
Divertimento for Strings, Sz. 113: 1. Allegro non troppo
Divertimento for Strings, Sz. 113: 2. Molto adagio
Divertimento for Strings, Sz. 113: 3. Allegro assai

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