Bartok Music for Strings, Percussion & Celesta (Fricsay) IV


The Fourth and final Part of Bartok's masterpiece, is a fast and joyous movement based on two traditional classical structural forms: The theme and variations and the rondo form. There are many musical ideas to be heard in this part which are under the direct influence of Hungarian and Balkan folk music and which Bartok develops with great ingenuity, vigor and resourcefulness. After the great intensity of the climax in the middle of this piece, the chromatic main melody of the first movement appears again, but now as a full fledged musical theme belonging in an expanded tonal -well tempered some might say- scale. Bela Bartok's genius guides us through atonality, through mechanical tempi, through instrumental arguments and nightmarish visions without ever losing track of our way out or in, while keeping a substantial dialogue with the past and presenting a tightly structured compositional whole. It is a world within a world by it's own right and a world within our world simultaneously. Here the RIAS symphony Orchestra under Ferenc Fricsay, who was Bartok's student, deliver an incredible, stunning performance. For me this is the best version ever of this work and it is a shame that Deutche Grammophone could not record it in stereo. Still you can listen to Fricsay's genius approach to Bartok's work and the orchestra's superb level, a combination that, for me, is unsurpassed until today, although admittedly I have not heard every single recording out there, but still I have many.

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