Béla Bartók: 3 Piano Concertos – Ferenc Friscay / Geza Anda / Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 78:47 minutes | 846 MB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: Pristine Classical.com | Digital booklet
At very long last we have a worthy recording of the Bartok Second Concerto, a work whose previous interpreters (including the admirable Andor Foldes, whose performance received Bartok’s own blessing) have all suffered from recording qualities ranging from indifferent to abysmal. This will be valuable in helping to spread a knowledge of an important work in Bartok’s output which is rarely heard in the concert hall, probably because of the ferocious difficulty of the solo part – Bartok seems to have had in mind huge hands with permanent built-in octave and thirds mechanisms. The music does not deserve this neglect, and though it is “tougher” in idiom than the more mellow Third Concerto it has in fact had a consistently successful reception ever since its first performance (by the composer) in 1933. A bravura, lithe work, it abounds in motor energy and in contrapuntal vigour and resource (much of the material of the first movement – which is played entirely without the strings – reappears in inversion, or even in retrograde inversion, in the finale): the central part of the Adagio is a brilliantly fantastic delicate scherzo which looks forward to the Sonata for two pianos and percussion. Soloist and orchestra co-operate in exemplary fashion in a performance remarkable for its precision of ensemble, clarity and exactness of detail: Gcxa Anda in pardcular is to be congratulated for the way he romps through all the difficulties. The recording is excellent, the stereo even better than the mono.
— L. S. The Gramophone, May 1961 – excerpt, review of DGG UP issue of Concertos 2 & 3
01 – PC #1 Sz. 83 – I. Allegro moderato – Allegro – Allegro moderato
02 – II. Andante
03 – III. Allegro molto
04 – PC #2 Sz. 95 – I. Allegro
05 – II Adagio – Presto – Adagio
06 – III. Allegro molto
07 – PC #3 Sz. 119 – I. Allegretto
08 – II. Adagio religioso – Poco più mosso – Tempo 1
09 – III. Allegro vivace
Geza Anda – piano
Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Ferenc Friscay – conductor
These recordings, drawn from a later DGG pressing which brought together Bartók’s three piano concertos and the Piano Rhapsody in a 1970s double-LP, are still prized more than fifty years later as among the very finest interpretations of these works. Brilliant performances were captured very well in fine stereo by Deutsche Grammophon’s engineers in the Jesus Christus-Kirche in Berlin.
As has previously been the case with the finest recordings of this era, I had to be certain there was more to be brought out of these recordings through XR remastering before committing fully to this project. A series of extensive transfer and listening tests convinced me that, indeed, there was. Careful pitch stabilisation has helped reduce or eliminate wow, flutter, pitch drift and a noticeable edit in the Third Concerto where the pitch drops from one take to the other. The overall sound is now fuller, richer and clearer, with a hint of the musically-sypatheric acoustic properties of Birmingham Symphony Hall filling out the rather artificially-dry original sound to great effect.
— Andrew Rose, Remastering Engineer