Bartok and Kodaly - SCO - UntraAudio.com
01 November 2004UltraAudio.com
Sir Charles Mackerras reigns these days as about the best all-purpose conductor around. He can move easily from authentic Baroque or Classical to Romantic or 20th-century literature. The results he obtains from conducting any type of music are outstanding. He also seems to get a much higher level of playing from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra than any conductor ever has. That is certainly the case here. These readings are alert, vigorous, musical, and exceptionally appealing. Mackerras brings joy to Bartók's Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celeste where other maestros seem merely studious. And his Kodály is perhaps the most dance-like version in the catalog.
Because Linn released a hybrid multichannel SACD of Poulenc's Organ Concerto with the orchestra in front and the organ in the surrounds, I thought maybe the same approach might be considered for the Bartók, which is for double string orchestra. The engineers have opted instead for a very natural arrangement: the two string ensembles are both up front, arrayed to the conductor's left and right, with the percussion instruments behind them. The rear channels are used for very realistic ambience. There is delicious detail and ideal balance through the program. Listen for the delicate interplay between the trumpets and violins at the end of the Kodály, and for the incredibly realistic sound in the last movement of the Music for Strings. Thank God for high-resolution sound! I like this recording enough to cry "Encore!" for a companion disc containing Bartók's Dance Suite and other short works by Bartók and Kodály.
Related LinksScottish Chamber OrchestraBartok & Kodaly