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- Recorded as part of their critically praised ‘Infernal Dance’ season in 2011-12, the Philharmonia Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen explore three contrasting works by Belá Bartók: 'Contrasts' is one of Béla Bartók’s most imaginative forays into the world of chamber music. His only chamber work involving a woodwind instrument 'Contrasts' originated in a commission from the American ‘King of Swing’, Benny Goodman. Composed to mark the 50th anniversary of Budapest in 1923, Bartok’s 'Dance Suite' is a rhapsodic collection of folk inspired tunes that marked a sonorous change in direction from the composer’s more dissonant works up to that point.
The ballet-pantomime 'The Miraculous Mandarin' is raw, dangerous, exotic and elemental: using the rarely performed full ballet score it is frenzied music, percussive, sensuous and violent, telling a shocking story of desire and death. Paul Gent in the Telegraph was moved to say:
"a gripping performance of the music to the pantomime ballet The Miraculous Mandarin. Telling the grotesque story of a strange oriental who refuses to die until his desire for a call girl is satisfied, it is one of Bartok’s knockout masterpieces. Every shudder and every lunge of the grubbily powerful scenario was vividly characterised, with an elemental violence at the climaxes. Particularly telling was the way Salonen managed to invest even the quieter, more mysterious episodes with as much energy as the barbaric chase scenes. Among much excellent playing, the contribution of the silkily sensuous clarinet, portraying the prostitute, was outstanding.
Appetites duly whetted, then, for the rest of this ambitious series." The Telegraph 28/1/2011
01-11 The Miraculous Mandarin, Sz. 73
12-16 Dance Suite, Sz. 77
17-19 Contrasts, Sz. 111
- Yefim Bronfman
Yefim Bronfman, Zsolt-Tihamér Visontay
Mark Van de Wiel, Philharmonia Voices,
- 1 CD - 1h 8mn 33s
release date. 2016-09-02