Bartok Viola Concerto!
As I get older, I have begun to explore more of Bartok’s work, and I like it. While I still have difficulties with some of the string quartets, I found that I was drawn to the viola concerto. One possible reason is that I love the sound of this instrument so much!!
For this recording, Pierre Boulez has once again gathered an extraordinary team of musicians: Yuri Bashmet, Gidon Kremer, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, and Tamara Stefanovich. Also involved are two ensembles: The Berliner Philharmoniker, and the London Symphony Orchestra.
These are such terrific performances! We hear Gidon Kremer in the Violin Concerto #1, and, of course, Yuri Bahsmet in the Viola Concerto. Both soloists perform with great feeling, inspiration, and with outstanding phrasing and musicianship.
The Two-Piano Concerto is a masterpiece, in that it is an arrangement of Bartok’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion for which the composer added orchestral parts. Boulez keeps the piano and percussion parts so prominent that most of the time you could be hearing the original sonata version.
The London Symphony’s lead percussionists, backing up pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Tamara Stefanovich, sound brilliant and exciting; and the Berlin Phil. has somewhat less to do in the two string concertos but it is outstanding, as usual.
Here is a video of Wladimir Kossjanenko, playing a section of the Bartók viola concerto: