Bartok: Violin Concerto No. 2; Viola Concerto

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LABELS: Supraphon
WORKS: Violin Concerto No. 2; Viola Concerto
PERFORMER: André Gertler (violin), Jaroslav Karlovsk´y (viola); Czech PO/Karel Ancerl
CATALOGUE NO: 11 1956-2 AAD (1961-65)
Bartók’s two major string concertos rarely appear on record together, but they make a good contrasting pair: the Second Violin Concerto (1937-8) is one of the composer’s most expansive works, whereas the Viola Concerto, left incomplete at his death fifty years ago, is spare and emotionally constricted. The Hungarian violinist André Gertler was an early champion of Bartók’s music and for this 1965 studio recording his playing is strong and committed, if a touch rough around the edges. Jaroslav Karlovsk´y makes an even rougher sound; the Viola Concerto is a very hard work to put across, and this performance only gets going in the Finale. Stephen Maddock