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Bartók, Martinu, Klein / Eschenbach, Philadelphia Orchestra

> Pamatnik Lidicim (Memorial to Lidice), H. 296 - Pamatnik Lidicim (Memorial to Lidice), H. 296
> String Trio (arr. V. Saudek as Partita for string orchestra) - I. Allegro spiccato
> String Trio (arr. V. Saudek as Partita for string orchestra) - II. Variations on a Moravian Folksong: Lento
> String Trio (arr. V. Saudek as Partita for string orchestra) - III. Molto vivace
> Concerto for Orchestra, BB 123 - I. Introduzione: Andante non troppo - Allegro vivace
> Concerto for Orchestra, BB 123 - II. Giuoco delle coppie: Allegretto scherzando
> Concerto for Orchestra, BB 123 - III. Elegia: Andante non troppo
> Concerto for Orchestra, BB 123 - IV. Intermezzo interrotto: Allegretto
> Concerto for Orchestra, BB 123 - V. Finale: Presto

Album Summary

>Martinu, Bohuslav : Memorial to Lidice
>Klein, Gideon : Partita for strings
>Bartók, Béla : Concerto for Orchestra, Sz 116
Conductor Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Here is the first international commercial CD release of the great Philadelphia Orchestra in 10 years and commemorates the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II with music from the 1940s, partially written in US exile.

"This release represents one answer to the difficult question of what a top orchestra can do to make new recordings of the basic repertoire, now that the major labels are out of the picture. It offers an excellent musical programming concept, with all three works captured live in performances that are absolutely stunning and fully competitive with the best available. Both the Bartók and Martinu pieces were composed during their respective composers' exile in America, while Gideon Klein's Partita (an arrangement for string orchestra of his String Trio), is the result of "internal exile" in the Terezín concentration camp. All three men found ways to continue making music despite displacement, personal misfortune, and against the background of the rise of Naziism and the onset of war. More to the point, the program works because it offers plenty of purely musical contrast and variety..."

"Martinu's Memorial to Lidice, a town wiped out by the Nazis as an act of retaliation for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, is a harrowing but ultimately hopeful orchestral elegy that receives the most gut-wrenching performance yet recorded. Eschenbach is about 50 percent slower than Ancerl (or anyone else), but he uses the extra time to excellent effect, revealing every luminous detail of Martinu's orchestration and building the music to a shattering climax, with Beethoven's Fifth balefully intoned by the horns. Klein's Partita has much in common with Bartók's Divertimento, with its folk-inflected thematic material. Its central movement is a very attractive set of variations on a Moravian theme, and it's clear from this performance that the Philadelphia tradition of great string playing is very much alive and well. Eschenbach leads a performance both warm and incisive, revealing a major work in the process."

"The Philadelphia Orchestra already has at least two recordings of Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra to its credit, both with Eugene Ormandy--a fine early stereo version on Sony, and a mediocre early digital remake on RCA. This newcomer clearly is finer than either of those, as exciting a rendition as any available. Eschenbach thankfully eschews the excessive slowness that has marred his recent Mahler performances and lets the various sections of the orchestra display their considerable prowess in what remains one of the repertoire's great showpieces. Listen to the rush of excitement in the transition to the first-movement allegro, or to the beautiful balance between woodwinds and harps in the second subject; notice the brilliant brass fugato that initiates the recapitulation, and the driving coda. It's the real deal, from the very first note."

"This release also is interesting as a sample of the "Philadelphia Sound" in its new home, and the news is generally good there too. The sonics are markedly superior to what Sony, RCA, and EMI used to get in any of the various venues that they used, at least in stereo. The microphones are close to the players, the better to reduce the occasional noise from the audience (the occasional light cough isn't at all bothersome), but the orchestra can take the exposure, and the sonic impact is pretty thrilling. In 5.0 multichannel surround-sound, excessive emphasis on the center channel collapses the stereo image in a way that makes the disc sound like it was recorded in mono, though this is still preferable to excessive rear-channel emphasis, which happily is not a problem. I vastly prefer the sonics in either regular or SACD stereo, which really do set a new standard for recordings made in Philadelphia, and the rating reflects only the stereo option. All in all, this release represents a most auspicious beginning to the relationship between Philadelphia and Ondine. I'm pleased (and honestly relieved) to be able to recommend it to you in the strongest possible terms." -ClassicsToday

Classical Candor
It's an excellent live recording of three equally excellent performances and gets high marks on all counts.



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Works Details

>Martinu, Bohuslav : Memorial to Lidice
  • Conductor: Christoph Eschenbach
  • Ensemble: Philadelphia Orchestra
  • Running Time: 12 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 08/03/1943
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Klein, Gideon : Partita for strings
  • Conductor: Christoph Eschenbach
  • Ensemble: Philadelphia Orchestra
  • Running Time: 17 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Concerto for Orchestra, Sz 116
  • Conductor: Christoph Eschenbach
  • Ensemble: Philadelphia Orchestra
  • Running Time: 38 min. 51 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1943-1945
  • Studio/Live: Live