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Miklós RÓZSA (1907-1995)
Sinfonia Concertante op. 29 (1958) [31:16]
Notturno Ungherese op. 28 (1962) [8:31]
Tripartita op. 33 (1972) [23:52]
András Agoston (violin)
Lászlo Fenjö (cello)
Philharmonia Hungarica/Werner Andreas Albert
rec. Westdeutscher Rundfunk Köln, Stadthalle Vennehof, 11-20 October 2000 (Op. 29); 26-30 May 2000 (opp. 28, 33). DDD
CPO 999 839-2 [63:42]
Experience Classicsonline

If works are to live they need constantly to renew their executant champions. We cannot always be sustained by past exemplars and lofty long-dead heroes. For this reason it is good to have this collection which rather like the Telarc recording of the Rózsa concertos for violin and cello offers a more natural perspective than the fierce almost ill-tempered intensity of Heifetz and Piatigorsky.
Rózsa's often tempestuously aggressive Sinfonia Concertante is here given a concert hall ambience that places the two soloists further back and allows the orchestra more of the spotlight. There is plenty of Bartókian point, barb, grit and resin in the performance as well as a most poetic yield ((8:20 in I) that gratifies. I think you will learn more about this work in this understated and Delian approach than you will from the unremitting glare of other performances. I am sure that Christopher Palmer - such a champion of Rózsa - would have loved this version especially in the green-leaved ecstasies of the Tema con variazioni.
The Notturno ungherese has that long-day-ended warmth also to be found in Kodály's Summer Evening. This is Rózsa at his considerable best. Amongst the ‘Hungarianisms’ do I also hear a laid-back cowboy Hollywood romance? It’s reminiscent of Shenandoah and the great rivers - a sort of rolling Vltava. It’s a lovely piece extremely well done.
The Tripartita here receives its second recording having been premiered by Dorati with the National Symphony in Washington. Its first recording came late on with David Amos, while a third has just arrived courtesy of Chandos (see review). I first encountered the work in a studio concert broadcast in the 1970s for one of Rózsa's birthdays. It was enthusiastically done by Ashley Lawrence with the BBC Concert Orchestra, heroes of a thousand studio tapes and - in repertoire terms - a far more significant orchestra than their third-tier reputation suggests. The Tripartita is in three movements - now there’s a surprise! The first is a vicious little bubbling Intrada, eager with the vehement aggression of one of his film noir ‘krimis’ of the 1950s. The Intermezzo Arioso is typically haunted - a landscape lent ominous monotone by a solar eclipse; there is a chill in the air. An explosive Waltonian Finale - allegro con brio brings things to a wild-eyed end after a slackening of tension in the central core. This piece would pair neatly with say Moeran's Sinfonietta or Constant Lambert's Music for Orchestra
Nicely done if you would like to hear a less obvious Rózsa orchestral mix.
Rob Barnett


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