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Z. KODALY: 'Hary Janos': Suite. Dances of Marrozzek, Dances of Galanta, Psalmus Hungaricus.    RIAS Kammerkchor and Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. Ferenc Fricsay. . DG The Originals Mono/Stereo 457-745-2 75m ADD.
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This shatteringly authoritative dics shows us Ferenc Fricsay's unforgettable conducting at ist brilliant ebullient best. As DG's notes espouse, Fricsay was completely at home conducting two of his outstanding compatriots namely Bartok and Kodaly. This batch of recordings fills an unaccountable void in the Kodaly discography and the reissue should stand as a timely reminder of the grandeur and eloquence that permeate this magnificent music. I warmed immediately to the incredulity and fantasy of the 'Hary Janos' Suite, a clockwork cornucopia of bizarre sounds and mystical dances culminating in a headlong rush of blistering Hungarian frivolity.

The 1961 recording is clear and crisp and here one cannot fail to touch Fricsay's emotive music making just a couple years away from his untimely death. The two Dances are earlier mono recordings and they shine out for the brilliant sonorities that Fricsay was able to coax out of his Berlin players. It seems that each and every instrumentalist is a virtuoso in his own right with some perplexingly daredevil work from the strings in the dashing conclusion of the "Marozzek' Dances.

The same could be said of this 'Psalmus Hungaricus', thrilling dashing and ebullient are the catchwords here, sometimes the polyphony is utterly amazing. Ernst Haefliger sings with real panache and authority and once again the orchestra play their hearts out for their conductor. DG's remastering proves extremely lifelike and the sharp mono recordings provide a thrillingly clear soundstage. And the authority of Fricsay's Kodaly can never be denied. This issue can safely be said to be the central recommendation for these works and it also proves to be a fine memorial to the genius of Ferenc Fricsay.


Gerald Fenech




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