Bartok and Kodaly - SCO - Daily Telegraph
12 August 2004The Daily Telegraph
It might be expected that Charles Mackerras's expertise in Czech music would extend to central European music in general, but Hungarian music, like its language, is quite a different animal. Folk rhythms based on linguistic features reveal completely different musical characters when one compares, say, Kodály's Dances of Galánta with Dvorák's Slavonic Dances. But Mackerras's Kodály, played with charm and spirit by the players of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, is as fresh and authentic as they come, particularly the plagency he draws from the piece's melancholy nostalgia.
He has more competition in the two Bartók works here, especially in the Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, where he and his exemplary players make a convincing case for using the chamber-orchestra forces for which the piece was written. And the airy recording, made in the Usher Hall, Edinburgh, gives plenty of focus to the separation of the two string ensembles and the percussion dividing them, lending clarity to Mackerras's perceptive interpretation of the work. The more folk music-orientated Divertimento shares the qualities of the Kodály performance: clean, bright articulation and rhythmic flexibility.
Related LinksScottish Chamber OrchestraBartok & Kodaly