Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra; Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta

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COMPOSERS: Bartok
LABELS: DG Originals
WORKS: Concerto for Orchestra; Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta
PERFORMER: Berlin RSO, RIAS SO Berlin/ Ferenc Fricsay
CATALOGUE NO: 447 443-2 ADD mono (1954/57)
Ferenc Fricsay was a lifelong champion of his compatriot Bartók’s music – he conducted the premiere of the Op. 1 Rhapsody at the age of 22, and later made famous recordings of the piano concertos with Géza Anda. Apparently his 1953 account of the Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta was made over no fewer than five sessions – a luxury unthinkable these days. The results are suitably impressive, with no want of spontaneity in the dangerously fast last movement. The Concerto for Orchestra, recorded four years later just before the dawn of the stereo era, shows Fricsay’s art at its best: the playing is precise and vigorous, the interpretation detailed, witty and affectionate. Stephen Maddock

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