Bartók: The Wooden Prince

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Bartók: The Wooden Prince



Catalogue No:




Release date:

3rd March 2008




53 minutes


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Bartók: The Wooden Prince

A Dancing-Play in One Act

Though outwardly sunny in its subject matter, The Wooden Prince has a mystical side that may explain Bartók’s attraction to the story.



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Bela Bartok: A fabol faragott kiralyfi (The Wooden Prince), BB 74


First Dance: Dance of the Princess in the Forest

The Prince Meets the Fairy and Sees the Princess

Second Dance: Dance of the Trees

The Fairy Enchants the Stream - Third Dance: Dance of the Waves

The Prince Builds a Wooden Prince

The Princess Spies the Wooden Prince

Fourth Dance: Dance of the Princess with the Wooden Prince

The Prince is in Despair - The Fairy Comforts Him

Great Apotheosis

Fifth Dance: The Princess Prods and Encourages the Wooden Prince to Dance

Sixth Dance: With an Alluring Dance, the Princess Tries to Appeal to the Prince

Seventh Dance: Alarmed, the Princess Hurries After the Prince, but the Forest Keeps Her Back

The Prince and Princess Embrace - Long Kiss - Slow Curtain

Gramophone Magazine

May 2008

“Alsop and her orchestra do justice to Bartók's most overtly romantic large-scale score; it's a performance that will surely appeal beyond the ranks of Bartók devotees to balletomanes generally.”

BBC Music Magazine

April 2008

“…a fine, colourful and insightful account.”

Gramophone Classical Music Guide


“Bartók's tonally effulgent second stage work suits the warm, texture-sensitive conducting style of Marin Alsop, who coaxes some stylish solos from her accomplished Bournemouth players. Three minutes into the teasing 'Dance of the Princess and the Wooden Prince' and you'll hear nicely pointed woodwinds set within an ambient, realistically balanced sound frame.
The solo clarinet in the 'Dance of the Princess in the Forest' is also very characterful: Alsop's feel for the ballet's romantic narrative – basically about love overcoming a series of obstacles – is at its most productive where the line is slow and expressive, for example the 'The Prince in Despair' and the final embrace, both of which have an almost filmic quality to them. Another good sampling-point, more an illustration of the score's humour this time, is the droll bassoon solo at the start of the fifth dance where the Princess 'prods and encourages the Wooden Prince to dance'.
Alsop's most recent rival is Zoltán Kocsis with the Hungarian National Philharmonic (see above), an unforgettable performance and a distinguished production that tops all rivals in at least two specific episodes: 'The Fairy Enchanting the stream' and the tangy dance where 'The Princess Spies the Wooden Prince', the score's most Hungarian-sounding music. Here the Bournemouth performance is rather low on energy and 'bite', at least initially. But then you'd expect a Hungarian band to latch onto the national element.
All in all, Alsop and her orchestra do justice to Bartók's most overtly romantic large-scale score; it's a performance that will surely appeal beyond the ranks of Bartók devotees to balletomanes generally, not to mention lovers of finde siècle musical excess. Good notes too, by Carl Leafstedt.”

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