Bartok, Kodaly

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Bartok,Kodaly
LABELS: RCA High Performance
WORKS: Concerto for Orchestra
PERFORMER: Boston SO/Erich Leinsdorf
CATALOGUE NO: 09026 63309 2 ADD Reissue
This disc appears in a series of audiophile reissues from RCA called ‘High Performance;’ accordingly, the 1962-4 sonics boast a spectacular combination of fullness and detail. The Boston Symphony is in fine form, the brass players featuring their soft-grained, vibrato-laden sound in place of the impervious gleam preferred in other American orchestras. This version of the Bartok has had to live in the shadow of the 1955 Reiner account on the same label, justly acclaimed as one of the great Bartok recordings. Especially in the first three movements the music sounds more idiomatic, well-shaped, and rhythmically alive under Reiner. On the other hand, I can’t imagine anyone being seriously disappointed with Leinsdorf, whose approach in the finale is brisker and more fiery. The Kodaly variations are also successfully done, and the booklet reprints a few words the composer himself contributed to liner notes for the original release. David Breckbill