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Bartok – Dance Suite for Orchestra, Two Portraits
Bartók composed his Dance Suite as the result of a commission from the city fathers of Budapest to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the union of the two towns Pest and Buda. While on his travels, Bartók liked to collect old folksongs, and he used this opportunity to express the act of fraternity in his music in the manner of a hidden programme. As he himself stated, he made use of Arabian, Hungarian and Romanian influences in the Suite, whose dances are linked together by means of ritornello-like interludes.
Bartok : Concerto for Violin
During his career spanning 60 years Isaac Stern recorded this major contemporary work several times and demonstrates once again his superb mastery of his instrument in this particular recording. With bravura he conjures up eruptive snatches of melody out of the rhapsodic depths, allows the slow movement to glow with pastoral sentiment, and tears through the vast variations finale with a perfect command of the score, his instrument and his creative prowess.
Bartok : Klavierkonzert Nr.1 Und Rhapsodie
This uncompromising severity presents an enormous challenge that is mastered with aplomb by Géza Anda and the RSO Berlin under Ferenc Fricsay. Bartók’s musical language is milder and more accessible in his Second and Third Piano Concertos, which are now available in a new pressing from Speakers Corner Records (DGG 138 111).
Bartok : Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 3
Bartók wanted his Second Piano Concerto to be understood as a contrast to his harsh and – for the orchestra – extremely difficult First Piano Concerto. But notwithstanding its more easily understandable theme, this work too was composed using strict classical sonata form. With a bright atmosphere, fired on by the sound of trumpets, the theme of the first movement forges ahead and sets the course for the whole work. Lively exuberance and a committed interplay between the soloist and orchestra result in a work that is wholly positive throughout and which remains full of energy yet bell-like and accessible right up to the final movement.
Beck, Bogert, Appice – s/t
On the whole, the supergroups of the Seventies didn’t last very long, but for that – all the more notably. This certainly applies to the Anglo-American trio made up of the extremely talented though narcissistic guitarist Jeff Beck, the bass-player Tim Bogert, and the drummer Carmine Appice. As early as 1970, the British Beck wanted to engage the two American musicians for a joint project. This plan however had to be postponed for two years because the speed-mad Beck had had a serious car accident and needed time to recover. 1973 saw the release of the trio’s first and only studio album, which not only demonstrated Beck’s powerful-hectic style of guitar playing but also allowed his musical companions to show off their prowess.
Beethoven – Complete Incidental Music to Goethe’s Egmont
Ludwig van Beethoven - Complete Incidential Music to Goethe's Egmont Pilar Lorengar, Klaus-Jrgen Wussow and the Vienna Philmarmonic Orchestra conducted by Georg Szell "It is a happy state of events to see two great masters unite in a glorious work and thus fulfil every wish of the thoughtful connoisseur. Beethoven has proved that he alone - among many composers - was certainly the one to comprehend the tender and at the same time powerful poem deep in his innermost soul: every tone which the poet struck resounded in his heart like a string tuned at the very same pitch and vibrating at the same rate, and so the music was created which now threads its way and binds all together like a brightly coloured ribbon woven from brilliant tones." Such were E.T.A. Hoffmann's enthusiastic words about Beethoven's Egmont: indeed very little else needs to be added - except that this recording has been newly pressed and is now available on the DECCA label once again.
Beethoven – Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1
The performance history of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos is, it appears, bound up with a paradoxical situation. On the one hand, every great pianist must almost feel destined to perform these works at least once in his lifetime. But on the other hand, so many heroes of the schellac era have left future generations their excellent recordings that these are filled with awe and respect, their otherwise nimble fingers become lame – and often only a mediocre recording is the result.
Beethoven – Concerto No. 5 (Emperor)
Beethoven's Emperor (Concerto No. 5, Op. 73 in E-flat Major) was composed in 1809. I have heard nothing except good comments concerning the Emperor Concerto, but the reviews point to little else than the unique structural departure from previous concerti and the moods of the movements as robust and calm. Beethoven's intention, I feel, was primarily to produce a point/counterpoint study of that remarkable melody created with a few notes in the upper range by the right hand. It appears approximately five minutes into the first movement and again ten minutes later. The robust themes preceding and following those appearances are in themselves a study in power; a series of rich chords expressing, in effect when held against the crystalline theme, the contrast between masculine and feminine.
Beethoven – Sonatas for Piano & Cello
Possessing a complete recording of Beethoven’s Cello Sonatas gives far more satisfaction than merely having the set to fill the shelves. On the one hand it offers one the opportunity to compare Beethoven’s art of composition at various stages in his life. And on the other hand one can already recognise in the early Opus 5 how he breaks with the traditional sonata in which the solo instrument merely provides an accompaniment and treats the two instruments as equal partners in the creation of the movements.
Beethoven – Symphony No. 6 in F major “Pastorale” op.68
Symphony No. 6 in F major "Pastorale" op. 68 Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Wojciech Rajski Tube only / Transistorfrei
Beethoven – Symphony No. 9
It was clear from the start that Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, with its air of solemnity in the final chorus, which calls for brotherly love just as the New Year comes in, would become a musical part of our world’s cultural legacy. Hundreds of minds, Beethoven researcher Karl Nef prophesied, have been set in motion by this music in the most varied ways, and it will continue not only to bestow pleasure upon countless thousands, but also to stimulate mental life right at the most fundamental level.
Beethoven – Symphony No. 9 in D minor op. 125
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 9, op. 125 - Bomi Lee, Agnieszka Rehlis, and other soloists, the Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Sopot and Polish Chamber Choir Schola Cantorum Gedanensis conducted by Wojciech Rajski The first three movements - Sides 1, 2 and 3 - should be played back as normal. For the last movement on side 4, please place the needle on the inside of the record. You needn't do any more than that: it will move from the inside to the outside of the record. The music sounds so much the better than in a normal production. The reason being the final movement of the 9th Symphony places enormous demands on vinyl technology.