Barbirolli conducts Bartok, Prokofiev, Schubert
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Label: Barbirolli Society
Cat No: SJB110809
Number of Discs: 2
Release Date: 8th April 2022
WorksConcerto for Orchestra, Sz116 BB123
Violin Concerto no.2 in G minor, op.63
Symphony no.5 in B flat major, D485
ArtistsIon Voicu (violin)
Hungarian State Symphony Orchestra
Orchestra Filharmonicii George Enescu
The Bartók performance comes from Budapest – recorded just over a week later during Barbirolli’s visit to southern-European then communist-controlled countries in September 1961. It is of Bartók’s magnificent Concerto for Orchestra, to which the composer’s fellow-countrymen, the Hungarian State Symphony Orchestra, respond here with splendid musicianship. The work is rightly considered to be one of the 20th century’s finest showpieces for any orchestra, as well as being a true concerto in that the musicians – individually and corporately – have to command a manner of musicianship allied to technical excellence that very few other works of this period call for.
Such a statement of intent, and such a comprehensive artistic achievement as Bartók’s Concerto displays, would have immediately appealed to Barbirolli – no wonder he performed it more than any other composition by the Hungarian – and, now in the capital of Hungary itself, there is a unique and utterly musical warmth of expression conveyed by this performance, allied to the technical excellence of the musicians, individually and corporately, that is profoundly impressive and in its way quite moving. The Hungarian players’ expression in the Elégie has an intensity that surely reflected that which propelled Bartók’s pen across his manuscript as he strove to convey his final message. It is unique, and therefore valuable, in its combination of natural expression and moral defiance: a great performance by great musicians under a great conductor.
Recorded Festival Enescu, Bucharest 16 & 17 September 1961 (stereo) (Schubert & Prokofiev); Budapest 26 September 1961 (Bartók)
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