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Symphonic Music - Released May 18, 2018 | PentaTone

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What an excellent idea it was to put the Concertos for Orchestra by two friends as close as Bartók and Kodály together on a single record! The first, written for Koussevitzky and the Boston Orchestra, has been a hit for over 70 years in programmes and concerts the world over; but the second has, quite unjustly, been conspicuous in its absence since its first performance in 1941. The fruit of a commission from the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra in 1939, the Concerto for Orchestra by Kodály was supposed to have been first performed by the writer in person, but the plan was scotched by the war, which prevented Kodály from leaving his country. The score arrived in the US in the luggage of... Bartók, who carefully packed it up when he began his exile. Short, and made up of a single movement, Kodály's work doesn't bear the mark of the political events of the time. It is a work in a rather pastoral mood, in which elements of baroque concerto grosso are mixed in with traditional popular melodies. The very delicate orchestration almost overshadows the massed ranks of the orchestra demanded by the composer, who would shortly leave behind symphonic composition to write his famous Psalmus Hungaricus and oratorios, before one final Symphony put the capstone on his oeuvre. Jakub Hrůša does perfect justice to this seductive score, painting it in diaphanous colours and a most convincing mystery, at the head of the excellent Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. The young Czech conductor doesn't stop at merely putting these two works on the same record, but works to underline the subterranean links that join them together. His approach to the Concerto for Orchestra by Bartók, which came a few years after Kodály's piece is the opposite of the monumental orchestral work that we normally hear. This renewed version expresses a piercing melancholy which even the thundering of the final Presto can't dissipate. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released April 15, 2015 | EXTON

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Classical - Released November 4, 2015 | EXTON