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American Record Guide, September 2008

This edition of Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra is well played by Boulez and the Berlin Philharmonic but is not especially attractive. The site is the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, a huge church in Lisbon, Portugal. Although the engineers have done a creditable job of taming its huge echoey reaches, the cameramen seem too fascinated by its ceilings and architectural details. Also, considering the capacity of a DVD, a performance that takes only 37:36 seems to be very short measure. There is also a documentary on Bartok and his writing of the work that lasts some 28 minutes, but one will certainly not want to watch it more than once or twice.

Rick Jones
Classic FM, February 2008

This film of Boulez conducting Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra is part of EuroArt's 'Discovering Masterpieces of Classical Music' series. That the Concerto is a masterpiece is beyond doubt, and its symphonic folksiness also makes it one of Bartók's more approachable works. The performance is supplemented by a documentary that explores Bartók's strickened circumstances as an immigrant in New York and how the Concerto rescued his finances and restored his reputation. Boulez describes how the conflict between Bartók's instinctive modernism and love of folk music shaped the Concerto – a fascinating thought to go with a typically rigorous performance.

Bradley Bambarger
New Jersey Star-Ledger, November 2007

The latest entry in the EuroArts DVD series "Discovering Masterpieces" is Bela Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra, which was premiered in Boston in 1944, just a few months before the Hungarian composer's death. One of the guides in the disc's documentary on this rich, ever-exciting work is conductor and composer Pierre Boulez, who also leads the Berlin Philharmonic in a gorgeously filmed full performance of the Bartok in an exotic Lisbon cathedral.

Although it's too brief, the half-hour documentary aptly underlines Bartok's duality as a composer -- steeped in folk music but a modernist, writing his Concerto for Orchestra for the unprecedented virtuosity of American ensembles but with memories of old Europe in his head. The acoustics are a bit reverberant for this music. But Boulez has the keenest of ears, and the Berlin orchestra plays with its characteristic mix of precision and beauty.

Robert Benson, November 2007

Boulez is a master of this repertory, and the Berlin Philharmonic is in top form. The cavernous acoustics have been well-tamed by the engineering team, and this is a worthy performance. However, the "documentary" isn't much and is less than a half-hour. This same performance has been issued previously on Euroarts DVD (2053078) which also contains the remainder of the program: Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20 with Maria-Joao Pires, and Ravel's Le tombeau de Couperin.

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12:36:17 AM, 3 June 2015
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