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  Living Stereo
  Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra etc. - Reiner
  Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra, Music for Strings Percussion and Celesta, Hungarian Sketches

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Fritz Reiner (conductor)
Track listing:
  1-5. Concerto for Orchestra
6-9. Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta*
10-14. Hungarian Sketches*

* Three track stereo recording
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:
  Produced by Richard Mohr
Recording Engineer: Lewis Layton
Mastering Engineer: Mark Donahue
DSD Engineer: Philipp Nedel
Remastering Supervisor: John Newton
Reissue Producer: Daniel Guss
Series Coordinator: Tim Schumacher

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Reviews: 10 show all

Review by stvnharr October 20, 2004 (13 of 13 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Wonderful recording and sound. It sounds like it was just done yesterday! If you only have one copy of the Concerto for Orchestra, this is the one. There is also the new, and very fine, Hungaroton release by Zoltan Kocsis. But the Reiner disc just exudes the word, classic.
This disc and the Ravel have the best sound of the 6 Living Stereos that I have.

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Review by thepilot November 20, 2004 (10 of 12 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is the only "Concerto for Orchestra" you'll ever need. Performance and sound is fabulous, and the SACD reissue sounds like it was made yesterday. WOW is the only word that describes the way Reiner conducts Bartok and the way RCA engineers recorded the Chicago SO!

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Review by threerandot May 31, 2007 (8 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
Fritz Reiner leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in these fearless performances of these most famous works by the Hungarian composer, Bela Bartok.

This was the first of several SA-CDs I purchased in the RCA Living Stereo series and it is certainly one of the very best. Fritz Reiner was a conductor whose attention to detail was unwavering and he jumps on these works by Bartok with great intensity. The Chicago Symphony play with gusto.

The Concerto for Orchestra is easily the most popular work by Bartok and it is presented here in two-channel stereo, just as it was recorded. The sound is crystal clear and the reading is intense. This is actually my first encounter with Reiner's interpretation and he is unflinching, pushing the Chicago players for all their worth. Its no wonder that this is considered by many to be the definitive reading of the Concerto for Orchestra. Its too bad this performance had not been recorded in three-channel surround like the other two works on this disc. I have noticed that listening to the Concerto for Orchestra back in SA-CD stereo on my player, actually seems to improve the focus on the sound.

The Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta has the added benefit of being recorded in three-channel surround and Reiner again dives in head first, throwing caution to the wind and the Chicago Symphony play with fiery intensity when needed and gentle and colorful tones when required. There is also nice depth in the percussion, placing it at the back of all the other instruments. The Celesta is wonderfully caught with vivid clarity.

Hungarian Sketches also benfits from a three-channel recording and Reiner does not disappoint. This is actually a wonderful way to end this disc with the sensitive reading of "An Evening in the Village", the lighthearted "Bear Dance", the humourous "Slightly Tips" and closing with the jocular "Swineheard's Dance".

This disc is a showcase of virtuoso playing and Bartok fans will certainly be impressed with these legendary readings which have been so revered. I wish I could say that this was recorded in modern DSD sound, but these 1955 and 1958 recordings capture the ambience of Orchestra Hall very well. Excellent sound for this vintage and Highly recommended to all Bartok fans. Even if you aren't a Bartok fan, the price is very attractive and makes it all the more worthwhile to add this to your SA-CD Library!

(This review refers to the MCH portion of this disc, although I do prefer the Concerto for Orchestra played in SA-CD Stereo mode.)

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Works: 3  

Béla Bartók - Concerto for Orchestra, Sz. 116 BB 123
Béla Bartók - Hungarian Sketches, Sz. 97 BB 103
Béla Bartók - Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, Sz. 106 BB 114