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CD Review

Béla Bartók


  • Piano Concerto #1, Sz. 83 (1926)
  • Piano Concerto #2, Sz. 95 (1931)
  • Piano Concerto #3, Sz. 119 (1945)
  • Violin Concerto #1, Sz. 36 (1908) *
  • Violin Concerto #2, Sz. 112 (1938) *
Vladimir Ashkenazy, piano
* Kyung Wha Chung, violin
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Georg Solti
* Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Georg Solti
Decca 473271-2
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Bartók's concertos had always been significant 'tour-de-forces' on all counts and here they receive legendary interpretations from the late analogue and early digital eras.

Ashkenazy thumbs through the piano concertos in an uncanny show of force and he brings particular virtuosity to the 2nd Concerto which is a veritable minefield for the sanguine pianist.

I also enjoyed the poetic Adagio Religioso in the Third Concerto, another event of significant beauty that really clears the waters. The CSO play with admirable corporate virtuosity and the recording is an Orchestra Hall gem.

Similar plaudits apply to the violin concertos which are played with almost effortless virtuosity by the young Chung. Solti is a dutiful accompanist and he brings an icy deliberation to this mysterious music. Once again recordings are of top drawer quality.

Any collector who hopes to add the complete Bartók concertos to his/her collection is earnestly recommended to purchase this well filled twofer.

Copyright © 2003, Gerald Fenech