Marin Alsop conducts powerful, colourful performances of the controversial and violent ballet. The Miraculous Mandarin in its full form, coupled with the Dance Suite of 1923, demonstrating in both the orchestra’s virtuosity and the conductor’s versatility. Helpfully, each of the 12 sections is separately banded. The Dance Suite in this performance brings together rustic vitality and orchestral refinement, a more genial reading than many, while the Hungarian Pictures, with Bartók’s own colourful orchestrations of early piano pieces, makes a relaxed tailpiece.
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