Viola Concerto Hungarian Sere
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The spirit of his native Hungary is seldom far away from the concert music of Miklós Rózsa, in spite of some 55 years spent in Hollywood and his long association with music for the cinema. His Viola Concerto, the later of the two works pre
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The 'Hungarian Serenade' (1932, rev.1945-1952) is 24-minute folk-tinged suite with five movements: Marcia, Serenata, Scherzo, Notturno, Danza. It was originally premièred in 1932 to lukewarm applause. But this became 'a thunderous ovation' when the audience noted that Richard Strauss, who was in the hall, was applauding vigorously. In its revised form it is almost a concerto for orchestra, with prominent solo parts for practically all the principal players of the orchestra, most notably the bassoon in I, violin, viola and cello in II, flute, oboe and bassoon in III. The Budapest Concert Orchestra under Mariusz Smolij are not entirely world-class, but they make a good case for the works. Recorded sound, although acceptable, is slightly glassy.
The Hungarian Serenade (1932, rev 1952) is Bartok without shock, awe, or eeriness, or perhaps a better analogy would be Dohnanyi with the addition of Bartok's elemental vigor and rustic rhythmic sense. If less singular than the Viola Concerto, remember that Richard Strauss raved about the work at its premiere in 1932.
The sound strikes me as somewhat better than the subdued spotlight provided by Naxos to violist Lars Tomter in their recording of the Walton Viola Concerto. Here the violist is neither distant nor too close, so that both the soloist and the orchestra grab your attention whenever called for.