Bartok - Miraculous Mandarin, Dance Suite, Contrasts | Signum SIGCD466

Bartok - Miraculous Mandarin, Dance Suite, Contrasts

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Label: Signum

Cat No: SIGCD466

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Release Date: 2nd September 2016

Contents

Artists

Yefim Bronfman (piano)
Zsolt-Tihamer Visontay (violin)
Mark Van de Wiel (clarinet)
Philharmonia Voices
Philharmonia Orchestra

Conductor

Esa-Pekka Salonen

Works

Bartok, Bela

Contrasts, Sz111 BB116
Dance Suite, Sz77 BB86
The Miraculous Mandarin, op.19 Sz73 (complete ballet)

Artists

Yefim Bronfman (piano)
Zsolt-Tihamer Visontay (violin)
Mark Van de Wiel (clarinet)
Philharmonia Voices
Philharmonia Orchestra

Conductor

Esa-Pekka Salonen

About

Recorded as part of their critically praised ‘Infernal Dance’ season in 2011-12, the Philharmonia Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen explore three contrasting works by Belá Bartók: Contrasts is one of Bartók’s most imaginative forays into the world of chamber music. His only chamber work involving a woodwind instrument, Contrasts originated in a commission from the American ‘King of Swing’, Benny Goodman. Composed to mark the 50th anniversary of Budapest in 1923, Bartok’s Dance Suite is a rhapsodic collection of folk-inspired tunes that marked a sonorous change in direction from the composer’s more dissonant works up to that point.

The ballet-pantomime The Miraculous Mandarin is raw, dangerous, exotic and elemental: using the rarely performed full ballet score it is frenzied music, percussive, sensuous and violent, telling a shocking story of desire and death. Paul Gent in the Telegraph was moved to say:

‘a gripping performance of the music to the pantomime ballet The Miraculous Mandarin. Telling the grotesque story of a strange oriental who refuses to die until his desire for a call girl is satisfied, it is one of Bartok’s knockout masterpieces. Every shudder and every lunge of the grubbily powerful scenario was vividly characterised, with an elemental violence at the climaxes. Particularly telling was the way Salonen managed to invest even the quieter, more mysterious episodes with as much energy as the barbaric chase scenes. Among much excellent playing, the contribution of the silkily sensuous clarinet, portraying the prostitute, was outstanding. Appetites duly whetted, then, for the rest of this ambitious series.’ - The Telegraph 28 January 2011

Reviews

Most music doesn’t suit safety, and the stakes are always higher when an orchestra knows it is being recorded live – no studio retakes, no patching (probably). This Bartók disc comes from the Philharmonia’s 2011 Infernal Dance series – and the now-or-never concert adrenaline is palpable. There’s unflinching attack in the savage pantomime The Miraculous Mandarin, deadpan wit in the gentler Dance Suite, and it’s all delivered with that unnervingly meticulous, steely focus that conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen gets from the Philharmonia.  Kate Molleson
The Guardian 12 August 2016

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