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Classical - Released June 22, 2010 | harmonia mundi

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Concertos - Released August 26, 2013 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released January 26, 2018 | harmonia mundi

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Bartók’s last two orchestral masterpieces, written in exile in the United States, are presented here; two “concertos”, one for solo piano, the other for full orchestra, hence its distinctive name of Concerto for Orchestra. Granted Bartók isn’t the first to have used such a title: it can be found as soon as 1925 with Hindemith, in 1931 with Malipiero, in 37 with Casella, and two years later with Kodály. Composed in one go during an unexpected remission from leukaemia, from August to October 1943, Concerto for Orchestra is the Hungarian’s only orchestral work of such scale. Fascinating in its musical hedonism and virtuosity required from each musician, this work serves as a summary for Bartók’s career. It explores the composer’s favourite writing styles as well as the folklores that have inspired him, from Central Europe to Arabic music. It also reveals the richness of Bartókian harmonics, ranging from the diatonic and modal clarity of popular music to a bitter yet always lyric chromaticism. As for Piano Concerto No. 3, it was almost completed before the composer’s death: only the orchestration of the last seventeen measures was missing. It is the only piano piece Bartók didn’t compose on his own initiative, but for his wife Ditta Pásztory – who never had the heart to play it… With Javier Perianes on the piano, conductor Pablo Heras-Casado gives life to this concerto for orchestra with ardour and clarity, thus restoring all of its modernity. © SM/Qobuz
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Solo Piano - Released May 19, 2014 | harmonia mundi

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This collection of Béla Bartók's piano music offers a generous program of some of the most influential keyboard works of the 20th century, expertly played by Alain Planès. Making a clean break from the lush and sentimental parlor music of the fin de siècle, Bartók introduced a drier, muscular style, incorporating lively folk rhythms from Eastern Europe, pungent dissonances, percussive sonorities, and novel techniques that made the piano sound exciting and vital in modern music. Planès plays with extraordinary vitality, so his performances here are exciting and invigorating, while at the same time observant of all of the subtleties and soft qualities that made Bartók's music poetic and deeply expressive. This CD opens with one of Bartók's most revolutionary works, Dance Suite, which put him on the map as a modernist and made him the leading Hungarian composer of his time. This is followed by the Fifteen Hungarian Peasant Songs and Four Old Songs, a block of pieces that shows the great variety of styles and melodic inflections in folk music that became his chief resources. Perhaps the most advanced work is the acerbic Piano Sonata, both in terms of its daring dissonances and formal mastery, typical of his most important music of the 1920s. The collection is rounded out by the Six Romanian Folk Dances, which are similar to the Hungarian pieces heard earlier, and the Fourteen Bagatelles, which encapsulate in miniature many of his innovations. Harmonia Mundi's recording is top notch, with great clarity and presence without excessively close microphone placement.
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Classical - Released July 31, 2007 | harmonia mundi

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Quartets - Released August 26, 2010 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released January 12, 2010 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released January 11, 2011 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released November 11, 2013 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released December 24, 2009 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released November 6, 2007 | harmonia mundi