Serebrier's fascination with Kodaly came as a direct result from his work
with the great Hungarian mastro, Antal Dorati and it is thrilling to hear
these passionately prepared performances that carry an authentic 'feel' to
them. I have recently also acquired Ferenc Fricsay's legendary mid-50's Originals
disc which almost duplicates the same repertoire, substituting the Peacock
Variations with the Psalmus Hungaricus. Serebrier's 'dances of Galanta' are
firm and autocratic, rather stiff-lipped although some lovely contributions
from the violins in Brno provide a unique Gypsy-like feeling.
The Peacock variations are witty and alive, rather in the mould of Istvan
Kertesz's classic Decca account with the LSO. Bis' crystal clear recording
allows us to enjoy the various string portamentos and the Vivace conclusion
is wonderfully alive and vivid. I was not that happy with the 'Marozzek'
Dances, here Serebrier is not a patch on his mentor or Fricsay, both Kodaly
compatriots who bring special authority to this uniquely personal yet
Nationalistic composition. Still as Serebrier tells us in the charming narrative
that make up the notes to this CD, his claim to Hungarian influence is not
that far away!
Amends are made in a gloriously colourful 'Hary Janos' Suite. Clocks, Fairies
and Emperors are made to dance a pretty tune and the orchestral colours of
the SWF Orchestra seem to relish the whole Hungarian cuisine with eminent
delight. When it comes to straight recommendations, I would place this digitally
recorded CD as an essential modern alternative to Fricsay (DG mono) and Dorati
(Mercury), for the latter two speak the language of this enigmatic composer
like no other. Eighty minutes of music is also an added incentive to buy.