Works from Herbert von Karajan's London years, 1948-60.
Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodaly, intended his musical play 'Hary Janos', to be both popular and patriotic. He described Janos as 'a peasant, a veteran soldier, who day after day sits in the tavern spinning yarns about his heroic exploits'. The 5-and-half-mins Intermezzo heard here conveys something of the swagger of the man who claims, among other triumphs, to have defeated Napolean single-handedly.
1) 'Hary Janos' suite excerpt, by Kodaly (5:36) : V Intermezzo.
The first work by Bela Bartok, to be heard on this CD, is his 'Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta'. It is extremely unusual in its deployment of performers : Two string orchestras placed at either side of the platform ; and between them a group consisiting of untuned percussion (side drums, bass drum, cymbals, and tam-tam) and tuned instruments (xylophone, harp, piano, timpani, celesta).
Many key elements of Bartok's musical language are found here ; the inflections of Hungarian folk music being absorbed into a universal contemporary idiom ; control of rhythmic flow that can make time seem to either stand still, or rush forward with irresistable momentum ; an acute sensitivity to instrumental sound, epitomised by the 'night music' of the third movement.
Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, by Bartok (29:02) :-
2) I Andante tranqillo 3) II Allegro 4) III Adagio 5) IV Allegro molto
plus : 6) III Adagio (newly discovered rehearsal sequence ; 1:53)
Every bar of the work 'Concerto for Orchestra' is stamped with Bartok's unmistakable personality, his mixture of passion and irony, energy and contemplation. While the control is as rigorous as ever, the material shows a broadening of outlook, an acceptance of varied and even contradictory experiences, that were new to his music.
Concerto for Orchestra, by Bartok (37:59) :-
7) I Intro : Andante non troppo - Allegro vivace 8) II Allegretto scherzando 9) Elegia : Andante non troppo 10) IV Intermezzo interotto : Allegretto 11) V Finale : Pesante - Presto
The CD is in EX+ condition.