In 1859, Franz Liszt published a book about gypsy music, entitled ‘Des Bohemiens et de leur musique, in association with Pricess Caroline von Sayn Wittgenstein. In this book (translated into German in 1861 by Peter Cornelius) the authors contend that Hungary cannot claim any authentic folk music of its own, and that the roots of the country’s folklore tradition lie in gypsy music.
Total time: 01:16:43
|Original Recording Format|
Grande Auditorio of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Lisbon
|Recording Type & Bit Rate||
|Release Date||August 7, 2015|
Only a really grumpy listener could fail to enjoy this. Here is a well-chosen potpourri of 20th century Hungarian and Romanian showpieces, some famous and others slightly off the beaten track. Zoltán Kodály’s Dances of Galánta get a reading of gratifying vigor and allure, his Háry János Suite is very satisfyingly shaped, and shorter works by Béla Bartók and György Ligeti provide a more balanced picture of the nuances of the folk music movement.
Conductor Lawrence Foster, who, despite his very English name, has Romanian parents, is an energetic, devoted exponent of this music. He and the Gulbenkian Orchestra, which he has led since 2002, work together with flawless rapport: these are clearly artists thriving on each other’s presence.
The Ligeti concerto, the least familiar music on the disc, is also the most thrillingly alive. The sound picture is wide and realistic (one can hear the violins divided), though it takes a while to adjust to the prominence of the solo players. Bass is gratifyingly present.
If the program intrigues you – and, if you enjoy having fun, it should! – you have no reason whatever to hesitate. A solid 75 minutes of pure pleasure.
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