Holiday Shop


WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Bartok: Piano Concertos No 1, 2 And 3 / Ivan Fischer, Andras Schiff, Budapest Festival Orchestra


Release Date: 07/29/2008 
Label:  Warner Classics   Catalog #: 511603   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Béla Bartók
Performer:  András Schiff
Conductor:  Iván Fischer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Festival Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
This title is currently unavailable.



Notes and Editorial Reviews

"When we are taught that in classical music four semiquavers must be played absolutely equally, then we are far removed from the truth." The words are those of Andras Schiff, written in the context of his booklet-essay "Bart& in Performance". And it's certainly true that although Schifrs free-flowing renditions of the Bart& piano concertos are never too far from the written page, they rarely stick rigidly to the letter. The first solo statement in the Second Concerto, for example (007" into track 4) is lilting and capricious, quite unlike the earnest pronouncements of Anda, Donohoe or Kocsis. Likewise in the 'night music' slow movement, where Schiff follows Bartok's own example in rushing towards the crest Read more of a phrase (as heard in an incomplete broadcast performance on Hungaroton). True, his Presto isn't quite as nimble as Anda's (these particular insects sound as if they'd rather have been left to slumber), but I can imagine some readers rejoicing in the many subtle shifts in pace and dynamics that colour Schiff's performances. Ivan Fischer's Budapest Festival Orchestra are on great form; woodwind solos are more characterful than on their last excursion into this repertoire (accompanying Kocsis between 1984 and 1987), brass choirs have immense force and the juggernaut big drums thrash thunder into the last movement of the Second Concerto.

The First Concerto suggests a sense of play that rivals Donohoe and Rattle, especially in the first movement - although I continue to prefer Donohoe's mesmerizing account of the Andante. The Third Concerto suits Schiff best of all: his tone is nicely rounded, his chords perfectly weighted and there's some nifty fingerwork (try from 506" into the finale). Again, one enjoys a mass of wellobserved instrumental detail - for example, the little clarinet counter-melody at 220" into the first movement and the evenly held bassoon pedal at 333".

Schiff habitually avoids any hint of percussiveness. He virtually sings these concertos, which makes for a near-ideal Third but, in the case of the Second, prompts something of an uneven confrontation. Schiff's contribution to the Second is consistently bright, nimble, even a little coquettish, while Fischer's response is brazen and athletic. The same might be said of the First Concerto, except that there the sound is so astonishingly lifelike that it virtually amounts to an aural drama on its own terms. As to rivals, my own personal favourites are Anda (elegant and muscular) and Kocsis (forceful and spontaneous), then Donohoe's propulsive First, Bernathova's airy Third and now Schiff's colourful account of the Third as compelling backups.

-- Robert Cowan, Gramophone [3/1997]
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano no 1, Sz 83 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  András Schiff (Piano)
Conductor:  Iván Fischer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Festival Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; Budapest, Hungary 
2.
Concerto for Piano no 2, Sz 95 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  András Schiff (Piano)
Conductor:  Iván Fischer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Festival Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930-1931; Budapest, Hungary 
3.
Concerto for Piano no 3, Sz 119 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  András Schiff (Piano)
Conductor:  Iván Fischer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Festival Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; USA 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In