Bartok: Piano Concerto No. 1; Piano Concerto No. 2; Piano Concerto No. 3; Violin Concerto No. 2; Concerto for Orchestra

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COMPOSERS: Bartok
LABELS: Philips Duo
WORKS: Piano Concerto No. 1; Piano Concerto No. 2; Piano Concerto No. 3; Violin Concerto No. 2; Concerto for Orchestra
PERFORMER: Stephen Kovacevich (piano), Henryk Szeryng (violin); LSO, BBC SO, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Colin Davis, Bernard Haitink
CATALOGUE NO: 438 812-2 ADD (1961-76

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In this compilation of lauded Bartók issues, Kovacevich’s incisive approach in the piano concertos, effectively balanced by Davis’s handling of Bartók’s colourful scores, creates a compelling blend of excitement and mystery. Szeryng’s account of the Second Violin Concerto is strongly directed and, though the recording favours the soloist, features brilliant orchestral playing. Haitink’s fine emotional control, and outstanding playing from the Concertgebouw maximise the dramatic effect of the Concerto for Orchestra.

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Nicholas Rast