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Béla Bartok: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 / Isabelle Faust, violin; Daniel Harding

Album Summary

>Bartók, Béla : Concerto for Violin no 1, Sz 36
>Bartók, Béla : Concerto for Violin no 2 in B minor, Sz. 112, BB 117
Performer Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

One of the great works of the 20th century, Bartók's Violin Concerto No.2 has virtually eclipsed his first effort in the genre, written thirty years earlier. However, this youthful work, inspired by his passionate, unrequited love for the young violinist Stefi Geyer and rediscovered long after the composer's death, deserves to be rediscovered. Isabelle Faust's deep connection to Bartók's music inspired her to explore a variety of original sources in an attempt to get closest to the composer's true intentions. Joined by the insightful Daniel Harding leading the Swedish Radio Symphony, Faust offers definitive readings of these masterworks.

The New Yorker
It is Faust's unmannered, focused artistry that commands attention... she has a way of pulling you deeper into each piece as she goes, varying and intensifying her phrasing until abstract figures speak in anxious sentences.

Financial Times, 27th July 2013
Faust...relishes i[the First's] warmth and volatility while respecting its musical integrity. The second concerto exemplifies Bartók's mature synthesis of traditional and modern styles. I do not share leading violinists' faith in its greatness, but Faust puts her unshowy brilliance at its service.

The Telegraph, 1st August 2013
Faust finds an ideal tonal pungency to voice the folk-like intonations, whether fiery or wistfully fragile, which she allies to a natural sweetness and flexibility of timbre and phrasing. The orchestra is a potent force, too, in underpinning the rhythms and radiating colour. A compelling disc.

The Times, 8th August 2013
Faust plays with sweet ecstasy in the passionate first movement [of No. 1], lyrically opulent enough to suggest Richard Strauss. She's equally impressive in the puckish second movement, kicked into life by gawky solo notes played without vibrato - one of her research discoveries...Music to cherish.

The Guardian, 8th August 2013
Probably the most beautiful and subtly nuanced version [of No. 1] available. The same intelligence is very much at work in the second concerto...Harding, sometimes a variable Bartókian, is clean, committed and incisive here. Make sure you read Faust's own essay in the sleevenotes: she writes about Bartók as persuasively as she plays him.

Sunday Times, 11th August 2013
[Harding and the orchestra] bring a glittering, sometimes gritty edge to Bartok's scoring - and underscore her detailed readings of this deeply felt, violently passionate music. In Faust's powerful performance, the long solo of the first concerto's opening andante sostenuto sounds like a lament for lost love.

BBC Music Magazine, September 2013
Faust resists the kind of full-blown romantic ardour that might seem appropriate to music inspired by a protracted love affair. Instead she weaves her sinewy melodic line in a more introverted manner...The effect is totally magical...[in the Second Concerto] Fausts draws you into the ebb and flow of the musical narrative.

The Strad, September 2013
Faust negotiates the composer's idealised fantasising with a poetic sensitivity that captures the

The Arts Desk, 31st August 2013
It's to the credit of Faust and Harding that this compelling, elusive music never feels shapeless, and the livelier second movement is cheeky, gutsy and pungent. Beautifully recorded, and Faust's self-penned sleeve notes make fascinating reading.

American Record Guide, January/February 2014
These are crisp, clean, lively, well-thought-out performances, recorded in good sound. Conductor Harding delivers alert, conscientious support. He and his players give full expression to the substantial orchestral backup without overshadowing the soloist. The main concerto has been recorded a lot.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Stockholm, Berwaldhallen (04/2012).


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Works Details

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Concerto for Violin no 1, Sz 36
  • Performer: Isabelle Faust (Violin)
  • Conductor: Daniel Harding
  • Ensemble: Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
  • Running Time: 22 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1907-1908

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Concerto for Violin no 2 in B minor, Sz. 112, BB 117
  • Performer: Isabelle Faust (Violin)
  • Conductor: Daniel Harding
  • Ensemble: Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
  • Running Time: 35 min. 48 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1937-1938