In 1925, Béla Bartók told interviewer Dezso Kosztolanyi that his first instrument was not, as might have been expected, the piano, but a drum he was given at the age of 2. At the age of 4, he was attracted to the piano, picking out Hungarian folk songs with one finger. These twin instrumental influences converged in one of the composer's most remarkable works, the Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion (1937), composed on a commission from the Basle chapter of the International Society for Contemporary Music. Bartók had previously explored similar instrumental combinations: the middle movement of the Piano Concerto No. 1, for instance, is a dialogue between the soloist and percussion. In this work, however, Bartók decided that, for purposes of balance, the percussion section was better offset by two pianos.
The Second Piano Concerto, written specifically for Bartok’s concert tours, was strongly influenced by the style of the composer-as-pianist – that style which Louis Kentner (the soloist under Otto Klemperer, in the first Hungarian performance of the work) has thus characterised: “ a relentless logic, an unwavering rhythm... such fire, such somber passion and eloquence as to make the performance…an unforgettable experience.”
This audiophile album was recorded using A-B Stereo techniques without support microphones, creating extremely convincing depth in the stereo image and capturing a realistic room impression. The sound sources, i.e. musical instruments and room reflections, are picked up with the correct time alignment relative to the placement of the main stereo pair, which explains why this method is often regarded as the PURIST’S CHOICE. The 2xHD Fusion mastering further contributes to the pureness, by bringing out all hidden information, without altering the music in any way, uncovering and conveying the nuances, warmth, depth of field and even the air around the musicians.