Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Bartok/Shostakovich
LABELS: Decca Classic Sound
WORKS: Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta; Divertimento; Piano Concerto No. 1
PERFORMER: John Ogdon (piano), John Wilbraham (trumpet) Academy of St Martin in the Fields/ Neville Marriner
CATALOGUE NO: 448 577-2 ADD (1970/72)
Marriner and the ASMF would not be my first choice in Bartók’s Music for Strings… Their performance is certainly well executed, but Marriner fails to generate the same degree of urgency that one finds in earlier and admittedly inferior-sounding recordings from Reiner (RCA) and Fricsay (DG). Nonetheless, this disc is worth hearing for the sake of an outstanding Divertimento in which the nightmarish elements of the slow movement provide an unusually powerful contrast to the brusque delivery of the finale. Ogdon’s Shostakovich is also notable – a much weightier account than many in the catalogue, though there are some passages, particularly in the finale, which require even more unbuttoned exuberance than is presented here. Erik Levi