This disc is not a true SACD, the two works for piano and orchestra being licensed from Philips recordings made in the mid-1980s, so I am limiting this review to regular stereo (which I have to confess I prefer anyway, at least to most surround-sound recordings).
Zoltan Kocsis' performances of the early but delightful Rhapsody and Scherzo remain the finest ever made, and having them available separately offers an excellent way for listeners to get to know them. Iván Fischer and his orchestra offer excellently judged, idiomatic accompaniments.
This version of the not uniformly interesting First Violin Concerto is a new recording made in 2006. Barnabás Kelemen is obviously a very capable soloist, and he's particularly successful in turning in a gutsy, passionate account of the long second movement. Kocsis as conductor ensures that the orchestral accompaniments are every bit as vivid as the solo playing. So while this may not be “major” Bartók, it is colorful and still very rewarding listening, particularly the two rarities for piano and orchestra. If you're curious about the early works, then this disc certainly fills the bill.
Artistic Quality: 9/10
Sound Quality: 9/10
Zoltán Kocsis (piano); Barnabás Kelemen (violin)
Budapest Festival Orchestra
Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra
Reference Recording – Rhapsody and Scherzo: This One
(ClassicsToday.com, May 30, 2008)