Boulez Conducts Bartok (8 CD box set, FLAC)
Boulez Conducts Bartok (8 CD box set, FLAC)

Composer: Bela Bartok
Conductor Pierre Boulez
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 8 CD box set
Format: FLAC (tracks+cue)
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Size: 2.09 GB
Reovery: +3%
Scan: yes

CD 1: Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra; Orchestral Pieces, Op.12
Four Orchestral Pieces op.12 (Sz 51)
1 1. Preludio
2 2. Scherzo: allegro
3 3. Intermezzo: Moderato
4 4. Marcia funebre: Maestoso

Concerto for Orchestra, Sz. 116
5 1. Introduzione (Andante non troppo – Allegro vivace
6 2. Giuoco della coppie (Allegretto scherzando)
7 3. Elegia (Andante, non troppo)
8 4. Intermezzo interrotto (Allegretto)
9 5. Finale (Pesante – Presto)
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez

CD 2: Bartók: Divertimento; Dance Suite; Hungarian Sketches; Two Pictures
Dance Suite, Sz. 77
1 1. Moderato
2 2. Allegro molto
3 3. Allegro vivace
4 4. Molto tranquillo
5 5. Comodo
6 6. Finale (Allegro)

2 Pictures, (Op.10) Sz. 46
7 In voller Blüte
8 Dorftanz

Hungarian Sketches, Sz. 97
9 1. An Evening in the Village
10 2. Bear Melody
11 3. Melody
12 4. Slightly Tipsy
13 5. Swineherd’s Dance

Divertimento for Strings, Sz. 113
14 1. Allegro non troppo
15 2. Molto adagio
16 3. Allegro assai
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez

CD 3: Bartók: Piano Concertos Nos.1 – 3
Piano Concerto No.1, BB 91, Sz. 83
1 1. Allegro moderato – Allegro
2 2. Andante
3 Allegro – 3. Allegro molto
Krystian Zimerman, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez

Piano Concerto No.2, BB 101, Sz. 95
4 1. Allegro
5 2. Adagio – Più adagio – Presto
6 3. Allegro molto
Leif Ove Andsnes, Berliner Philharmoniker, Pierre Boulez

Piano Concerto No.3, BB 127, Sz. 119
7 1. Allegretto
8 2. Adagio religioso
9 3. Allegro vivace
Hélène Grimaud, London Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez

CD 4: Bartók: Concerto for Two Pianos, Percussion and Orchestra; Violin Concerto No.1; Viola Concerto
Concerto for 2 Pianos, Percussion, and Orchestra, Sz.115
1 Assai lento – Allegro molto
2 Lento ma non troppo
3 Allegro ma non troppo
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Tamara Stefanovich, Neil Percy, Nigel Thomas, London Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez

Violin Concerto No.1 (Op.posth), Sz36
4 1. Andante sostenuto
5 2. Allegro giocoso
Gidon Kremer, Berliner Philharmoniker, Pierre Boulez

Concerto for Viola and Orchestra, op.post.
Version: Tibor Serly
6 1. Moderato – Lento parlando
7 2. Adagio religioso – Allegretto
8 3. Allegro vivace
Yuri Bashmet, Berliner Philharmoniker, Pierre Boulez

CD 5: Bartók: Violin Concerto No.2; Rhapsodies Nos.1 & 2
Violin Concerto No.2, Sz.112
1 1. Allegro non troppo
2 2. Andante tranquillo
3 3. Allegro molto

Also available:  Michael Tippett - Vocal Music (4 CD box set, FLAC)

Rhapsody No.1 for Violin and Orchestra, Sz. 87
4 1. Moderato
5 2. Allegretto moderato

Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra no.2 Sz 90
6 1. Lassú: Moderato
7 2. Friss: Allegro moderato
Gil Shaham, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez

CD 6: Bartók: Bluebeard’s Castle
Bluebeard’s Castle, Sz. 48 (Op.11)
1 Prologue – Opening Scene. “Megérkeztünk”
2 “Ez a Kékszakállú véra?”
3 “Nagy csukott ajtókat”
4 Door 1. “Jaj!” “Mit látsz? Mit látsz?” “Láncok, kések”
5 Door 2. “Mit látsz?” “Százkegyetlen szörnyü fegyver”
6 Door 3. “Oh, be sok kincs! Oh, be sok kincs!”
7 Door 4. “Oh! virágok! Oh! ilatoskert!”
8 Fifth Door. Kékszakállú: “Nézd hogy derül már a váram”
9 Door 6. “Csendes fehér tavat látok”
10 “Az utolsót nem nyitom ki”
11 “Tudom, tudom, Kékszakállú”
12 Door 7. “Lásd a régi aszszonyokat”
Jessye Norman, László Polgár, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez

CD 7: Bartók: Cantata profana, Sz94; The Wooden Prince, Op.13
Cantata Profana, BB.100, Sz.94 – The Nine Splendid Stags
1 1. Molto moderato
2 2. Andante
3 3. Moderato
John Aler, John Tomlinson, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez, Chicago Symphony Chorus, Margaret Hillis

The Wooden Prince, Sz. 60 (Op.13)
4 Introduction
5 1st Dance: Dance of the Princess in the Forest
6 2nd Dance: Dance of the Trees
7 3rd Dance: Dance of the Waves
8 4th Dance: Dance of the Princess with the Wooden Doll
9 5th Dance: The Princess pulls and tugs at the Wooden Prince and tries to make him dance
10 6th Dance: She tries to attract the real Prince with her seductive dancing
11 7th Dance: Dismayed, the Princess attempts to hurry after the Prince, but the Forest bars her way
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez

CD 8: Bartók: The Miraculous Mandarin, Op.19; Music for Strings, Precussion and Celesta, Sz 106
The Miraculous Mandarin, BB 82, Sz. 73 (Op.19)
1 Allegro: Introduction
2 Moderato: First decoy game
3 Second decoy game
4 Sostenuto: Third decoy game
5 Maestoso: The Mandarin enters
6 Allegro: The girl sinks down to embrace him
7 Sempre vivo: The tramps leap out
8 Adagio: Suddenly the Mandarin’s head appears
9 Agitato: Again, the frightened tramps discuss how to eliminate the Mandarin
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez

10 Molto moderato: The body of the Mandarin begins to glow with a greenish blue light
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez, Chicago Symphony Chorus, Duain Wolfe

11 Più mosso – Vivo – She resists no longer, – they embrace

Also available:  Beethoven - Concert Collection (FLAC)

Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, Sz. 106
12 1. Andante tranquillo
13 2. Allegro
14 3. Adagio
15 4. Allegro molto
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez

Overall Best One Stop Shopping for Orchestral Bartok

This is a predictably high quality release. One can research the widely praised performances on Fanfare or the American Record Guide. Boulez is a different sort of conductor from the eminent 20th century musicians (Reiner, Dorati, Koussevitzky, Solti, Fricsay) who helped establish the music of Bela Bartok a place in the modern orchestra repertoire. If his style is less Magyar in nature, Boulez’ performances still capture the full range of Bartok’s expression: the heady violence and sexuality, the piquant and zesty folk element, and the Debussy derived impressionist languor. Maybe some other exponents of Bartok were better at projecting the composer’s sense of mystery, but these performances do not lack atmosphere.

The recordings have clarity and a more solid bass than DGG typically has given. Standout performances include the ballets The Wooden Prince, The Miraculous Mandarin, the Violin Concerto no 2, the Concerto for two Pianos and Percussion (orchestral version), and the three Piano Concertos. I prefer the Kocsis performances of the MSPC and the Divertimento, Primrose and Zukerman in the Viola Concerto, and the many heralded performances of the Concerto for Orchestra (Reiner, Kubelik, Bernstein, among others).

The accompanying notes are minimal and do not shed new light on individual compositions.

3 Comments

  1. Whatever, thank you very much as usual. Boulez-Bartok, a great combination.

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