Notes and Editorial Reviews
The first point worth making is that the Royal Philharmonic strings sound more secure, more lustrous and more tonally distinctive here than on most of their recent discs, a qualitative leap that is due in no small part to Daniele Gatti's positive influence. Bartók's scrupulously crafted Divertimento offers plenty of scope for textural contrast, primarily in the first movement's dramatic alternation of tutti and solo, but also in the ghostly pianissimos that haunt the Molto adagio (note also Gatti's stealthy handling of those nightmare crescendos) and the lungingfortissimos in the same movement, with stunned piano phrases sleepwalking in their wake. Noteworthy detail emerges almost as a matter of course — vividly trilling sforzando
violas at bar 55 in the finale, gipsy-style slides in the little violin cadenza at 316" and much subtle colouring elsewhere. The second violins' fractionally delayed pp entry at the start of the Molto adagio sounds like a telling rhetorical gesture and my only quibble concerns a certain lack of raw energy... The opening Andante non troppo [of the Concerto for Orchestra] is delicately phrased, and note how sensitively the violins accompany the clarinet at 639". Bassoons audibly pepper the texture at 443" into the "Giuoco delle coppie" (a particularly effective piece of characterization) and the burbling woodwinds at the start of the "Elegia" recall the damp, cloistered world of Bluebeards Castle (the forte restatement of the first movement's principal violin theme — for example, at bar 34, or 213" — is immensely powerful). Gatti takes the slowest of BartOk's metronome options for the beginning of the finale, wisely I think given that he achieves clear articulation, and the tempo for the second movement is more or less on a par with Boosey & Hawkes's 1993 'revision' of crotchet=94... A musicianly production, then, well prepared, warmly recorded and full of telling interpretative observation...
-- Gramophone [1/1998]
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Orchestra, Sz 116 by Béla Bartók
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1943; USA
Venue: Henry Wood Hall, London, England
Length: 39 Minutes 39 Secs.
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