Thursday, February 23, 2006

Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra/Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta

Posted on Thu, Feb 23, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra/Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta
Label: Philips
Rated: NONE
WorkNameSort: Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra/Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta

While the daring and still-shocking works of Bartók have somehow eased their way into most orchestras' repertoires, it's exciting to listen to a conductor like Ozawa put these two (incredibly popular) pieces through an aggressive workout. Emphasizing the structural tensions in Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, we wind up with a whirlwind of instrumental bravado, an organically hefty half-hour that bristles with the daring approach of a composer in his inventive prime. While the Concerto for Orchestra is a much more elegant and slightly more sentimental work – it was written two years before Bartók's death, when the composer was clearly concerned less with breaking down walls than with his own mortality – Ozawa still digs up plenty of the piece's inherent drama and dynamics.

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