Bartok/Janacek: The Miraculous Mandarin; Two Portraits; Sinfonietta

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COMPOSERS: Bartok/Janacek
LABELS: DG Masters
WORKS: The Miraculous Mandarin; Two Portraits; Sinfonietta
PERFORMER: Shlomo Mintz (violin)Ambrosian Singers, LSO; Berlin PO/Claudio Abbado
CATALOGUE NO: 445 501-2 DDD (1983/89)
Claudio Abbado’s 1982 Mandarin is the real thing: by turns sinister, ugly, exhilarating and downright violent. The Kingsway Hall recording captures all the detail of this magnificently intricate score, and the London Symphony Orchestra excels itself.

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The Janácek Sinfonietta, one of the great celebratory scores of the century, is an odd bedfellow. This 1987 Berlin Philharmonic performance is urgent and disciplined; all it lacks is a full sense of grandeur in the finale. Stephen Maddock