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Cristian Măcelaru|Bartók: The Wooden Prince & Dance Suite

Bartók: The Wooden Prince & Dance Suite

Cristian Măcelaru and WDR Sinfonieorchester

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Rising conductor Cristian Măcelaru recorded mostly American music during his tenures in the U.S., but his posts in Europe have sent his career in a new direction. With the WDR Sinfonieorchester, he has recorded Dvořák and now, on this 2023 release, Bartók, with extremely promising results. Bartók's The Wooden Prince is a charming and affecting ballet about a romance controlled by a wooden puppet. The music is folk-influenced, but in place of the acerbic and rigorous later Bartók is a gentle gracefulness that Măcelaru's reading captures to the hilt, and the clean sounds he is getting from the WDR Sinfonieorchester bodes extremely well for his future outings with that ensemble. Bartók's Dance Suite can look either backward or forward in performance, and Măcelaru chooses the former; he offers a restrained Allegro molto that lets the primitivism in the score emerge naturally rather than hammering it home. Bartók rather lacks a champion right now, but this immensely satisfying recording, with excellent sound from the Kölner Philharmonie, suggests that Măcelaru may be able to fill that role.
© James Manheim /TiVo

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Bartók: The Wooden Prince & Dance Suite

Cristian Măcelaru

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The Wooden Prince, Op. 13 Sz. 60 (Béla Bartók)

1
I. Introduction
00:05:39

Bela Bartok, Composer - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - WDR Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist - Cristian Măcelaru, Conductor, MainArtist

2023 Outhere 2023 A WESTDEUTSCHE RUNDFUNK COLOGNE PRODUCTION

2
II. First Dance. Dance of the Princess in the Forest
00:02:19

Bela Bartok, Composer - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - WDR Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist - Cristian Măcelaru, Conductor, MainArtist

2023 Outhere 2023 A WESTDEUTSCHE RUNDFUNK COLOGNE PRODUCTION

3
III. The Prince Sets off and Falls in Love
00:02:44

Bela Bartok, Composer - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - WDR Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist - Cristian Măcelaru, Conductor, MainArtist

2023 Outhere 2023 A WESTDEUTSCHE RUNDFUNK COLOGNE PRODUCTION

4
IV. Second Dance. Dance of the Trees
00:04:59

Bela Bartok, Composer - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - WDR Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist - Cristian Măcelaru, Conductor, MainArtist

2023 Outhere 2023 A WESTDEUTSCHE RUNDFUNK COLOGNE PRODUCTION

5
V. Third Dance. Dance of the Waves
00:04:16

Bela Bartok, Composer - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - WDR Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist - Cristian Măcelaru, Conductor, MainArtist

2023 Outhere 2023 A WESTDEUTSCHE RUNDFUNK COLOGNE PRODUCTION

6
VI. The Prince Has an Idea
00:07:22

Bela Bartok, Composer - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - WDR Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist - Cristian Măcelaru, Conductor, MainArtist

2023 Outhere 2023 A WESTDEUTSCHE RUNDFUNK COLOGNE PRODUCTION

7
VII. Fourth Dance. Dance of the Princess With the Wooden Prince
00:05:30

Bela Bartok, Composer - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - WDR Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist - Cristian Măcelaru, Conductor, MainArtist

2023 Outhere 2023 A WESTDEUTSCHE RUNDFUNK COLOGNE PRODUCTION

8
VIII. The Prince Despairs
00:07:26

Bela Bartok, Composer - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - WDR Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist - Cristian Măcelaru, Conductor, MainArtist

2023 Outhere 2023 A WESTDEUTSCHE RUNDFUNK COLOGNE PRODUCTION

9
IX. The prince Is Restored
00:02:24

Bela Bartok, Composer - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - WDR Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist - Cristian Măcelaru, Conductor, MainArtist

2023 Outhere 2023 A WESTDEUTSCHE RUNDFUNK COLOGNE PRODUCTION

10
X. Return of the Princess - Fifth Dance
00:02:59

Bela Bartok, Composer - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - WDR Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist - Cristian Măcelaru, Conductor, MainArtist

2023 Outhere 2023 A WESTDEUTSCHE RUNDFUNK COLOGNE PRODUCTION

11
XI. The Wooden Prince Falls to the Ground - The Radiant Prince Appears - Sixth Dance
00:01:43

Bela Bartok, Composer - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - WDR Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist - Cristian Măcelaru, Conductor, MainArtist

2023 Outhere 2023 A WESTDEUTSCHE RUNDFUNK COLOGNE PRODUCTION

12
XII. Seventh Dance. The Despair of the Princess
00:04:49

Bela Bartok, Composer - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - WDR Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist - Cristian Măcelaru, Conductor, MainArtist

2023 Outhere 2023 A WESTDEUTSCHE RUNDFUNK COLOGNE PRODUCTION

13
XIII. The Happy End
00:04:43

Bela Bartok, Composer - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - WDR Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist - Cristian Măcelaru, Conductor, MainArtist

2023 Outhere 2023 A WESTDEUTSCHE RUNDFUNK COLOGNE PRODUCTION

Dance Suite, Sz. 77 (Béla Bartók)

14
I. Moderato
00:03:29

Bela Bartok, Composer - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - WDR Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist - Cristian Măcelaru, Conductor, MainArtist

2023 Outhere 2023 A WESTDEUTSCHE RUNDFUNK COLOGNE PRODUCTION

15
II. Allegro molto
00:02:17

Bela Bartok, Composer - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - WDR Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist - Cristian Măcelaru, Conductor, MainArtist

2023 Outhere 2023 A WESTDEUTSCHE RUNDFUNK COLOGNE PRODUCTION

16
III. Allegro vivace
00:02:59

Bela Bartok, Composer - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - WDR Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist - Cristian Măcelaru, Conductor, MainArtist

2023 Outhere 2023 A WESTDEUTSCHE RUNDFUNK COLOGNE PRODUCTION

17
IV. Molto tranquillo
00:03:37

Bela Bartok, Composer - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - WDR Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist - Cristian Măcelaru, Conductor, MainArtist

2023 Outhere 2023 A WESTDEUTSCHE RUNDFUNK COLOGNE PRODUCTION

18
V. Comodo
00:01:12

Bela Bartok, Composer - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - WDR Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist - Cristian Măcelaru, Conductor, MainArtist

2023 Outhere 2023 A WESTDEUTSCHE RUNDFUNK COLOGNE PRODUCTION

19
VI. Finale. Allegro
00:03:56

Bela Bartok, Composer - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - WDR Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist - Cristian Măcelaru, Conductor, MainArtist

2023 Outhere 2023 A WESTDEUTSCHE RUNDFUNK COLOGNE PRODUCTION

Album review

Rising conductor Cristian Măcelaru recorded mostly American music during his tenures in the U.S., but his posts in Europe have sent his career in a new direction. With the WDR Sinfonieorchester, he has recorded Dvořák and now, on this 2023 release, Bartók, with extremely promising results. Bartók's The Wooden Prince is a charming and affecting ballet about a romance controlled by a wooden puppet. The music is folk-influenced, but in place of the acerbic and rigorous later Bartók is a gentle gracefulness that Măcelaru's reading captures to the hilt, and the clean sounds he is getting from the WDR Sinfonieorchester bodes extremely well for his future outings with that ensemble. Bartók's Dance Suite can look either backward or forward in performance, and Măcelaru chooses the former; he offers a restrained Allegro molto that lets the primitivism in the score emerge naturally rather than hammering it home. Bartók rather lacks a champion right now, but this immensely satisfying recording, with excellent sound from the Kölner Philharmonie, suggests that Măcelaru may be able to fill that role.
© James Manheim /TiVo

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