Ez történt

BÉLA BARTÓK – Kossuth; The Wooden Prince (complete)

2007. 06. 15.

Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra
Zoltán Kocsis
Hungaroton- 32502(SACD)
Reference Recording – None for this coupling

Artistic Quality: 10 Sound Quality: 10
Kossuth is so exciting that you really wonder why it isn't played more often. Not much longer than Strauss' Don Juan, and just as ebulliently scored, it would make a terrific concert opener. Following up on his recent stunning recording of Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra, Zoltán Kocsis' next disc in the series is just as fine. He whips the orchestra up into a fine lather, the brass section of the Hungarian National Philharmonic responding with gusto, the strings with tremendous passion and sweep. This is just the sort of performance to make many new friends for the piece, and the SACD surround sonics are just as splendid as they were formerly.
Like Kossuth, The Wooden Prince is something of a step-child among Bartók's works. Its symbolist plot, to say nothing of the music, lacks the visceral punch of The Miraculous Mandarin, but the piece is much easier on the ear in the traditional sense, with its melodic material audibly rooted in Hungarian folksong. Kocsis' performance catches the music's ebb and flow as do few others. He understands how to get past the more spasmodic bits of pantomime in order to showcase the more extended sections, and once again the playing of the orchestra has all the panache that this opulently scored music requires.

I look forward to future releases in this splendid series, and to anything else from Kocsis that Hungaroton feels inclined to release. Unlike so many pianists turned conductor, he is the real deal, a consummately well-rounded musician, and this music plays to all of his strengths.

David Hurwitz
(ClassicsToday.com, June 2007)