Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

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ContrapunctusIX
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Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by ContrapunctusIX » Mon Oct 25, 2010 1:56 pm

Seeing how the "taking stock" topic seems to deal exclusively with works of the classical/romantic eras, I thought I'd mix things up a bit, and see how my fellow CMGers feel about what I consider to be one of the great masterpieces of the 20th century, Bela Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra. This was Bartok's final completed orchestral work, and it's safe to say he went out with a bang: this concerto makes great technical demands on every member of the orchestra at one time or another, whether asking the timpani player to tune up mid-movement in the finale, or the brutal unison runs on the strings, or the myriad difficult solo lines for brass and woodwinds. In my mind, this piece is the ultimate test of an orchestra's mettle, and any one weak link can make or break a performance. I love this piece to the point of bordering on near obsession, and as such, I have a number of different versions, including several I especially like (in bold):

Reiner/CSO
Kubelik/BSO

Kubelik/BRSO
Solti/LSO
Solti/CSO
Ancerl/Czech Phil
Haitink/RCO
Dorati/RCO
Dorati/LSO
Ozawa/Saito Kinen
Fricsay/Berlin RIAS
Karajan/BPO (one with EMI, another with DGG)
Boulez/CSO
Blomstedt/SFSO
Dutoit/OS de Montreal
Ansermet/OSR
Bernstein/NYPO
Ormandy/PO
Szell/CO
Fischer/Budapest Festival Orch

How do others here feel about this work? Are there any special recordings of it that you have which stand out above the others?
Last edited by ContrapunctusIX on Mon Oct 25, 2010 5:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by dirkronk » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:13 pm

ContrapunctusIX wrote:
Reiner/CSO
Kubelik/BSO

Dorati/LSO
Fricsay/BPO
I'll jump back in when I have time to review or at least list all the versions I currently have, but for the moment I'll use your list to highlight my favorites. The Reiner is my go-to version when I simply want a superb straightforward performance. Dorati/LSO is rather different and perhaps a bit more exciting (!) and comes in second in the "how many times do you go back to it" race. Both offer excellent recording for their time, and still sound darn good today. The Kubelik and Fricsay also have gorgeous things to offer, and I wouldn't want to be without them, but perhaps I'd place them a half step down from the other two. Right now, anyway.

Cheers,

Dirk

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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by bombasticDarren » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:14 pm

I don't have a large amount of recording:-

Pierre Boulez, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, DG
Ivan Fischer, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Philips
Ferenc Fricsay, Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, DG
Mariss Jansons, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, EMI
Herbert von Karajan, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, DG
Fritz Reiner, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, RCA
Georg Solti, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Decca

My rosette goes to Reiner

I have a large soft spot for the Jansons though as it was one of the first discs I owned

Kubelik and Dorati sound appealing

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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by John F » Mon Oct 25, 2010 4:01 pm

Is there a Ferenc Fricsay recording with the Berlin Philharmonic, or is that a typo for the Berlin Radio Symphony AKA RIAS? The latter is still my choice after all these years, as are Fricsay's other Bartok recordings as well.
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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Oct 25, 2010 4:10 pm

bombasticDarren wrote:I don't have a large amount of recording:-
You're too modest. :wink:

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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by Wallingford » Mon Oct 25, 2010 4:13 pm

WOWEE!!! ....had absolutely NO IDEA Blomstedt did this as a part of his great San Francisco Symphony series! I always thought only his live recording of it existed.

To me this work's special, one of the greatest ever, and I've tried hanging onto all of mine in moving from state to state. As of now, I still possess:

Bernstein
Ormandy 2 (both his '63 studio recording, and the live run-through from the same time)
Blomstedt (live, w/SFSO)
Karajan
Reiner 2 (the CSO one.....the other he did in Pittsburgh)
Koussevitzky
Leinsdorf (live, w/BSO)
Schwarz (live, w/SSO)

Before I moved out of Seattle, I also had:

van Beinum
Szell
Hollreiser
Jansons
Skrowaczewski
Reiner 1 (w/PSO)
Ozawa
Ormandy 1 & 3
Ansermet
Boulez 1
P. Jarvi
Last edited by Wallingford on Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by Wallingford » Mon Oct 25, 2010 4:38 pm

I'll listen to ANY performance of this work, and here are some I'm prioritizing to hear:

Rahbari
Fischer
Dudamel
Inbal
Horvat
Rattle

I'd also like to get ahold of Cantelli's NBC Symphony performance.
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That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by ContrapunctusIX » Mon Oct 25, 2010 4:59 pm

John F wrote:Is there a Ferenc Fricsay recording with the Berlin Philharmonic, or is that a typo for the Berlin Radio Symphony AKA RIAS? The latter is still my choice after all these years, as are Fricsay's other Bartok recordings as well.
no, my mistake: it is with the Berlin RIAS. I thought that looked wrong as I typed it. Anyways, I've fixed the post so as to avoid confusion.

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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by Heck148 » Mon Oct 25, 2010 5:28 pm

bombasticDarren wrote: Pierre Boulez, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, DG
Fritz Reiner, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, RCA
Georg Solti, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Decca

My rosette goes to Reiner
I agree - all of these versions are really superb - the CSO really has this piece down. I still think the Reiner leads the pack.

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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by Donaldopato » Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:13 pm

Cantelli NBC 1949 various copies
Dorati LSO Mercury
Reiner Chicago RCA
Fricsay Berlin Radio
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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by Chung » Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:18 pm

My stock in this piece is quite low with this piece

Ádám Fischer, Hungarian State Orchesta
Iván Fischer, Budapest Festival Orchestra
Doráti, London Symphony Orchestra
Dutoit, Montreal Symphony Orchestra

All of the recordings that I have of it are good enough. No clear favourite here and I'm just as likely to put any of the four on. Perhaps the only other thing worth mentioning is that I have a noticeably Hungarian bias for this piece (as I do with Bartók's other works in my collection)

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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by Wallingford » Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:55 pm

If you haven't hear Salonen's, you're not missing much.
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by Wallingford » Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:58 pm

In '81 when I still lived in my home state, I heard a really good Denver Symphony Orchestra performance, led by Carl Topilow.
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by Lance » Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:13 pm

Well, as most know, Bartók's works have never been among my top favourites, except for just a few of his solo piano pieces. No question, however, the Concerto for Orchestra is rated (and loved) as one of his finest compositions. I have many, and when I listen to it, it's the Reiner and CSO RCA recording. The ones I have on CD include:

Reiner/CSOReiner/Pittsburgh
Haitink/Philips-Decca
Fricsay/RIAS
Leinsdorf/Boston SO
Kubelik/Bavarian Radio SO
Celibidache/Czech PO
Koussevitzky/Boston SO (live)
David Oistrakh (cond)/Moscow State SO
Skrowaczewski/Minnesota Orch
and probably a few others

Versions above in red get heard the most frequently.
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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by rogch » Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:51 am

What is remarkable about this work is that i have heard many recordings and very few of them have been bad in my opinion. And the interpretations are more simular than in many other major works. With Mozart, Beethoven and Mahler, different recordings can be like night and day. And some of Bartok's works also sound very different when we compare different recordings. But not this work i think. The one that sticks out for me is Koussevitzky and the Boston SO on Naxos historical. It is a little rougher and more daring than many other recordings, but still has many fine orchestral details. This must be one of the first performances of the work, perhaps that is the reason. This piece quickly became a "household work" for most orchestras, many works from earlier in the century are still much more controversial.

If an orchestra outside a composer's home country ever can claim that a composer is "theirs", it must be the Chicago SO and Bartok. For decades their chief conductors were two Hungarians who of course knew this music well, they even knew Bartok personally. Pierre Boulez has often conducted the orchestra too and he knows a thing or two about Bartok as well. So the orchestra knows this music innside-out and their recordings don't disappoint.

I have not heard Karajan's DG recording, but he made two for EMI as well: One with the Philharmonia Orchestra and one with the Berlin Philharmonic. They are both very good.

Christoph Eschenbach's partnership with the Philadelphia orchestra was not among the most successfull. But they made a very good recording of the Concerto for orchestra. The extras are also very interesting: Martinu's Memorial to Lidice and Gideon Klein's Partita for strings. The history behind these works make them even more moving.
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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by josé echenique » Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:17 am

This hardly needs to be said, but yes, my all-time favorite recordings are the Reiner and the Fricsay. I also like very much the Kubelik/BSO and what the hell, I´ll put a word for Celibidache in Munich, naughty AND nice.

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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by maestrob » Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:42 pm

Yes, I'll put in a good word for Reiner also, it's a classic. The Ormandy is very good also, with a moment of weakness in the final movement, IIRC, and Solti/Chicago gets a rosette for fine playing, conducting, and sound.

Bartok was broke, in ill health and mostly forgotten when this piece was commissioned: what a great swan song!

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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by Wallingford » Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:20 pm

Among my faves are Bernstein and Ormandy 2 (his second for Columbia/Sony; the third was for RCA digital).

I wish to put in an extra good word for HEINRICH HOLLREISER, Vox's first stereo recording (w/Bamberger Symphoniker). It's slightly-less-than-virtuosic playing, so it won't attract everyone, but this conductor handles everything intelligently, with spirit and emotion to spare. Astounding that MMG or Allegretto (who've owned the rights to Vox material) never did even a $4 cheapie reissue of this, as they did so much else in their catalog.

I must say that the above performances still have allure (for me), as the second movement unianimously is done in a slightly slower tempo: makes the dry humor that much more dry (and droll). THIS is on account of early engravers/editors marking Bartok's tempo as allegretto scherzando, rather than allegro scherzando. Reiner did the latter, as did Szell, and Koussevitzky (HIS recording's the earliest of all, and is only, I believe, the second performance); Gerard Schwarz was one of the earliest conductors to do special research of Bartok's original manuscript, and helped restore it. But I prefer the "wrong" way.
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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by Wallingford » Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:30 pm

YEHUDI MENUHIN!!! You'd think he'd only muster a mediocre intrepretation: UH-UH. The one he did for a '71 CBS Young People's Concert (sans the Elegy movement) gives just about every indication of his official complete NYP regular-concert performance being a supreme one as well. I watched this program as a 12-year-old; it was my introduction, and I was instantly smitten with it. Just about 8 years ago I acquired an anonymous New Yorker's reel-to-reel dub, and on the basis of the other four movements, it seems just as supreme as Bernstein's or Ormandy's or Hollreiser's.
Last edited by Wallingford on Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by Seán » Wed Oct 27, 2010 1:39 pm

I love this work but strangely enough I only have two recordings of it and a large number on my wish list, such as the Solti/CSO, the Dorati/LSO and Blomstedt/SFSO recordings to name but a few. I do feel though that the Reiner/CSO CD is just an incredible performance.

Reiner/CSO
Fischer/Budapest Festival Orchestra
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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by dirkronk » Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:24 pm

Seán wrote: I do feel though that the Reiner/CSO CD is just an incredible performance.
Trust your feelings, Seán.
:wink:

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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by Wallingford » Wed Oct 27, 2010 11:05 pm

Yes, Reiner's was a top-notch performance. A perfect performance, in fact--except that man could be so cold. Inhuman, too. I mean, I don't shed tears over his Elegy.

(Him & Boulez)
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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by Istvan » Thu Oct 28, 2010 2:30 am

Szell committed an unpardonable sin in making a cut of 90 bars in the Finale because he "did not think them very good". In any case, he is his usual frigid self in the rest of the performance. A CD for giving away to an undiscerning friend.
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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by val » Thu Oct 28, 2010 4:06 am

My choice:

Dorati with the Concertgebow

Reiner with CSO

Ancerl with the Czech Philharmonic

Solti with the LSO

Stokowski with the Houston Orchestra

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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by Heck148 » Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:40 am

Wallingford wrote:-except that man could be so cold. Inhuman, too.
I've never understood that appraisal of Reiner...his readings are udually white hot and full of energy and excitement. he could also really lean into beautiful melody when needed...there's a flexibility and suppleness to the phrasing, that seems to have eluded Szell much of the time.

Reiner was a real SOB as a person, tho. very domineering and nasty.

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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by maestrob » Thu Oct 28, 2010 12:47 pm

Heck148 wrote:
Wallingford wrote:-except that man could be so cold. Inhuman, too.
I've never understood that appraisal of Reiner...his readings are udually white hot and full of energy and excitement. he could also really lean into beautiful melody when needed...there's a flexibility and suppleness to the phrasing, that seems to have eluded Szell much of the time.

Reiner was a real SOB as a person, tho. very domineering and nasty.
True, but he made great music, as you said, and that's what counts in the end.

It's a sad fact of life that conductors of that era were so rough on players. When Cantelli conducted the NBC orchestra, they had a much warmer sound than under Toscanini, yet maintained the same discipline. What a glorious career that man would have had....

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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by ContrapunctusIX » Thu Oct 28, 2010 1:03 pm

Heck148 wrote: Reiner was a real SOB as a person, tho. very domineering and nasty.
Funny you'd mention this, as I just stumbled upon this on a Reiner bio page a few days ago:

"...After half a century it remains this association in Chicago that forged the legend of both Reiner and the Chicago Symphony, which (under him) had assumed its position among the handful of the world's greatest orchestras. Reiner was famous for his economy of conducting style and his sour demeanor. On occasion, orchestra members would complain about his small downbeat. A story told by Janos Starker goes, that once a fellow orchestra member complained bitterly, stating sarcastically that he would need a telescope to see the Reiner beat. The irascible conductor overheard him and wrote something on the back of a large score: "Can you see this?", Reiner asked. He had written two words in large letters: "You're Fired!"..."

Jerk though he may have been, it's hard to argue with the results he was able to achieve with Chicago.

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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by dirkronk » Thu Oct 28, 2010 3:55 pm

maestrob wrote:
Heck148 wrote:
Wallingford wrote:-except that man could be so cold. Inhuman, too.
I've never understood that appraisal of Reiner...his readings are udually white hot and full of energy and excitement. he could also really lean into beautiful melody when needed...there's a flexibility and suppleness to the phrasing, that seems to have eluded Szell much of the time.

Reiner was a real SOB as a person, tho. very domineering and nasty.
True, but he made great music, as you said, and that's what counts in the end.

It's a sad fact of life that conductors of that era were so rough on players. When Cantelli conducted the NBC orchestra, they had a much warmer sound than under Toscanini, yet maintained the same discipline. What a glorious career that man would have had....
Agreed. I cherish many of the recordings we do have of Cantelli.

Similar things were said of the Concertgebouw under Van Beinum following Mengelberg's l-o-n-g reign. The orchestra was incredibly skilled and disciplined, allowing the amazing speeds, turn-on-a-dime precision and inner-voice-revealing phrasing that Mengelberg's often mercurial style called for (after all, they were essentially HIS orchestra for nearly half a century, and knew how to keep up with him, however wild and/or wacky things could become). They kept this capability, at least for a time, after Van Beinum came to the podium to leaven the mixture with greater sobriety and, perhaps, humanity and warmth as well. The results: definitely a mixed bag...quite a lovely one in many instances, though generally with less unique performances (as reflected by recordings) under VB.

Cheers,

Dirk

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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by Wallingford » Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:41 pm

maestrob wrote:
Heck148 wrote:
Wallingford wrote:-except that man could be so cold. Inhuman, too.
I've never understood that appraisal of Reiner...his readings are udually white hot and full of energy and excitement. he could also really lean into beautiful melody when needed...there's a flexibility and suppleness to the phrasing, that seems to have eluded Szell much of the time.

Reiner was a real SOB as a person, tho. very domineering and nasty.
True, but he made great music, as you said, and that's what counts in the end.

It's a sad fact of life that conductors of that era were so rough on players. When Cantelli conducted the NBC orchestra, they had a much warmer sound than under Toscanini, yet maintained the same discipline. What a glorious career that man would have had....
Strange....in the late mag Classic CD, in their late '99 critics list of The 100 Greatest Conductors Of The Century, in a special section devoted to the "Top 10 Podium Autocrats," Cantelli is included.
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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by Wallingford » Sat Oct 30, 2010 7:05 pm

....another rare archived recording I once had: JAMES DIXON conducting the UNIVERSITY OF IOWA SYMPHONY ORCH.

I used to belong on Steve Slezak's mailing list, where he sold all sorts of rare performances on cassette or reel. He closed this sideline business a dozen years ago, but I did obtain some very fine performances prior. You might try doing a search to try to contact him personally: he may be able to work something out.

Dixon was a Mitropoulos protege, and he forsook a big-league career to devote himself to the above institution.

For all you Mahler collectors, he did live recordings with this orchestra of all Mahler's completed symphonies; some find these concert performances, virtuosity-wise, in a league with many major American orchestras.
Last edited by Wallingford on Sat Dec 04, 2010 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by Wallingford » Sat Dec 04, 2010 5:17 pm

Just thought I'd update everyone on my old James Dixon live cassette: I'VE GOT IT BACK.

It was minus its cover (like so many other cassettes), but I've got it, thanks to a friend in Washington who shipped about 120 lbs. worth of my old music collection. Not really too special or distinctive a performance.....but by virtue of the fact it's rare, I thought I'd boast about it.
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Getting ready for Christmas day
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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by stenka razin » Sat Dec 04, 2010 6:16 pm

Thank you for introducing me to James, my friend. I remember Dean, but, you have introduced me to another talented Dixon. 8)
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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Dec 04, 2010 7:28 pm

stenka razin wrote:Thank you for introducing me to James, my friend. I remember Dean, but, you have introduced me to another talented Dixon. 8)
Don't forget Blues Legend Willie Dixon... :wink:
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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by Seán » Sat Dec 04, 2010 8:12 pm

Wallingford wrote:For all you Mahler collectors, he did live recordings with this orchestra of all Mahler's completed symphonies; some find these concert performances, virtuosity-wise, in a league with many major American orchestras.
Oh! :shock:
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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by jserraglio » Sun Dec 05, 2010 6:09 am

Besides Reiner/CSO, I like Martinon (live 1968)/CSO.

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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by Fergus » Sun Dec 05, 2010 6:38 am

jserraglio wrote:Besides Reiner/CSO, I like Martinon (live 1968)/CSO.
Now there is one that I may well check out :idea:

I only have the Rriner CSO version.

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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by rwetmore » Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:22 am

To me the mediocre sonics, especially the clipped climaxes of the Reiner take away from the performance.

Boulez/NYPO is very good and in better sound.
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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by maestrob » Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:41 am

rwetmore wrote:To me the mediocre sonics, especially the clipped climaxes of the Reiner take away from the performance.

Boulez/NYPO is very good and in better sound.
The Reiner is a classic I wouldn't be without, as is Solti/Chicago. Ormandy has one weak spot, but is otherwise enjoyable.

For those who want a contemporary (or should I say recent) recording, Ivan Fischer is quite good.

rwetmore
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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by rwetmore » Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:46 am

maestrob wrote:The Reiner is a classic I wouldn't be without,
I wouldn't be without the Reiner either but the sonics disappoint me.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

Heck148
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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by Heck148 » Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:30 pm

rwetmore wrote: I wouldn't be without the Reiner either but the sonics disappoint me.
Hmm. how so?? in many ways the Reiner is much more clear than later recordings using supposedly more modern techniques and equipment.
the SACD version is esp good.

Wallingford
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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by Wallingford » Sun Dec 05, 2010 3:25 pm

rwetmore wrote:To me the mediocre sonics, especially the clipped climaxes of the Reiner take away from the performance.

Boulez/NYPO is very good and in better sound.
Boulez?!?

Jeez, talk about COLD. He makes Reiner sound like Old St. Nick.
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
--Paul Simon

rwetmore
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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by rwetmore » Sun Dec 05, 2010 5:29 pm

Heck148 wrote:Hmm. how so?? in many ways the Reiner is much more clear than later recordings using supposedly more modern techniques and equipment.
the SACD version is esp good.
It's not that I think the sound is bad or unclear - just that it doesn't do the performance full justice. Some of the dynamic climaxes sound a bit compressed to me.

Compare to Boulez/NYPO, which has much better sound, greater dynamic contrast, etc.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

Heck148
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Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2003 11:53 pm
Location: New England

Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by Heck148 » Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:54 am

rwetmore wrote: It's not that I think the sound is bad or unclear - just that it doesn't do the performance full justice. Some of the dynamic climaxes sound a bit compressed to me.

Hmmm... haven't noticed thar as an issue -
Compare to Boulez/NYPO, which has much better sound, greater dynamic contrast, etc.
Is this the one that was "multi-multi-miked", and then mixed down?? I never cared for that one - too cluttered and artificial - too much knob-twisting, excessive engineering interference with what was really happening.

Istvan
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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by Istvan » Mon Dec 06, 2010 10:18 am

The Reiner is a classic I wouldn't be without, as is Solti/Chicago.
I have always preferred the Solti/LSO version: the recording is more atmospheric and the reading more poetic and nuanced (helped by some outstanding woodwind), for example in the opening bars which quote the folksong about the cemetery where the singer's mother is buried.
Cheers

Istvan

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Heck148
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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by Heck148 » Mon Dec 06, 2010 12:21 pm

Istvan wrote:The Reiner is a classic I wouldn't be without, as is Solti/Chicago.
I have always preferred the Solti/LSO version:
I've always liked Solti's/CSO version - terrific performance, very powerful a good accompaniment to Reiner...
the virtuoso depth of the CSO is demonstrated in the 2nd mvt "Pairs at Play" and some of the other section "soli" portions of mvt I and elsewhere...
a really remarkable effort - also, it used to be paired on CD with Solti/CSO version of "Dance Suite". this is the best I've ever heard by some margin...
I heard them play it live in Carnegie Hall in 1970, the night before the famous Mahler 5th...it was a real ear/mind opener....gawd, what a sound that orchestra could produce!!

rwetmore
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Re: Taking Stock: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra

Post by rwetmore » Mon Dec 06, 2010 6:32 pm

Heck148 wrote:Is this the one that was "multi-multi-miked", and then mixed down?? I never cared for that one - too cluttered and artificial - too much knob-twisting, excessive engineering interference with what was really happening.
I'm not sure. I'm listening to the SACD stereo.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

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