Bartók’s Viola Concerto was the uncompleted work which, soon after this death, Tibor Serly put together from sketches. Now Bartók’s son Péter, with the scholar Paul Neubauer, has re-edited those sketches. Though the differences are small, this first recording of the revised version, superbly played, proves fascinating, sounding closer to the Concerto for Orchestra. With the rich-toned Chinese vila-player Xiao as soloist, that version is here presented alongside Serly’s. The warmly atmospheric Two Pictures and a viola work by Serly make a good coupling.
Tibor Serly, friend of Bartók and first editor of the unfinished Viola Concerto, here offers a closely related work, less individual than Bartók’s own, but well worth hearing. Beautifully played by the Chinese viola-player, Hong-Mei Xiao, it provides a good makeweight for the disc containing both editions of the Bartók Concerto.