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One of Bartók’s most popular symphonic works is his Concerto for Orchestra; Rafael Kubelik’s fabulous recording of it has long been out of the catalogue and is now restored to circulation at budget price. The Viola Concerto was commissioned by William Primrose, who did much to advocate the piece. Sadly, Bartók died before he could complete the work or meet with Primrose at a sufficiently advanced stage of the concerto’s composition in order to discuss it. Tibor Serly completed the work and Primrose premiered it in 1949. This is the first release on CD of the Deutsche Grammophon recording of the piece with Daniel Benyamini, for long leader of the viola section of the Israel Philharmonic as soloist, and Daniel Barenboim conducting.
‘This is a performance to keep making you smile with delight … Kubelik presents a relaxed view with the rhythms pointed to bring out the wit, above all the peasant-like jollity … The DG recording is warm and atmospheric but equally has good inner detail’ Gramophone [Concerto for Orchestra]
‘the committed performance here by soloist and conductor shows the concerto in the best possible light; and the slow movement is really touching’ Gramophone [Viola Concerto]
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