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BARTÓK, B.: Kossuth / 2 Portraits / Orchestral Suite No. 1 (Buffalo Philharmonic, Falletta)

Naxos 8.573307

   Fanfare, January 2015
   Fanfare, January 2015
   Fanfare, January 2015
   American Record Guide, January 2015
   BBC Music Magazine, January 2015
   Classical Net, December 2014, December 2014
   Pizzicato, November 2014
   Gramophone, November 2014, October 2014
   Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, September 2014, September 2014
   Cinemusical, September 2014
   Audiophile Audition, September 2014, September 2014
   The Guardian, September 2014
   David's Review Corner, September 2014
   WFMT (Chicago), August 2014

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Jim Svejda
Fanfare, January 2015

…this is not only an invaluable and entertaining album, but also one that adds to the growing body of evidence that JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic are among the most exciting musical partnerships anywhere today. © 2014 Fanfare

Arthur Lintgen
Fanfare, January 2015

This is a well-thought-out collection of Bartók’s earliest major orchestral works…

JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra stand up well to some pretty formidable competition…This is highly recommended. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review

James H. North
Fanfare, January 2015

JoAnn Falletta and her Buffalo Philharmonic give warm, friendly performances… © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review

Don O’Connor
American Record Guide, January 2015

Falletta keeps a firm hand on the music, while letting its improvisation passages breathe. The Buffalo Philharmonic’s playing is vigorous and sensitive, and Naxos’s sound worthy of its content. © 2015 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Misha Donat
BBC Music Magazine, January 2015


JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic…[are] on fine form…and the disc provides invaluable insight into Bartók’s formative years. © 2015 BBC Music Magazine

Robert Cummings
Classical Net, December 2014

[In the] symphonic poem Kossuth…the Buffalo Philharmonic delivers an utterly spirited and precisely played account…

The Two Portraits…probably represents the best music on the disc…The performance by violinist Michael Ludwig is quite fine and Falletta draws excellent work from the orchestra in this brief work.

The sound reproduction in all these works is excellent…Bartók aficionados will surely find this a most satisfying disc. © 2014 Classical Net Read complete review

Colin Anderson, December 2014

If you are unfamiliar with Bartók’s Suite No. 1, then a pleasant surprise—an uplifting treat—awaits you. JoAnn Falletta and her Buffalo Philharmonic give an ideally vigorous, lush and affectionate account of this delightful and bracing music that can dance with earthy vigour and wear a big heart on its sleeve, the young composer inventive and imaginative, teeming with ideas, and on the cusp of becoming the inimitable and great composer we know him to be.

Kossuth…is an evocative, exciting and dramatic diary of events, from intense brooding to final desolation via urgent battle cries. JoAnn Falletta and her troops do justice to this intense score, one festooned with nationalistic motifs. As throughout, the vivid recording presents some impressive music and music-making. © 2014 Read complete review

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, November 2014

Untypical Bartók compositions from the young composer, in which all possible weakness is masked by JoAnn Falletta’s powerfully dramatic conducting. © 2014 Pizzicato

Rob Cowan
Gramophone, November 2014

JoAnn Falletta’s performances of these early Bartók show-stoppers really do raise the roof.

Given the excellent playing and first-rate sound, I really can’t see why anyone wanting to add these fascinating pieces to their library should look elsewhere, especially given the modest price point. © 2014 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

David Hurwitz, October 2014

The Two Portraits is probably the best known work here, but it is also (to me at least) one of Bartók’s least satisfying. The first portrait is the opening movement of what is otherwise the First Violin Concerto. It has always sounded to me like ten minutes of meandering chromatic sludge, but for some reason this version, sensitively rendered by violinist Michael Ludwig, projects a purity and purpose that I found quite affecting. The second portrait (“grotesque”) lasts only two and a half minutes and is over before it ever really gets going. Falletta plays it for all it’s worth, but this odd diptych remains a puzzle. © 2014 Read complete review

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, September 2014

Lovers of the mature Bartók will appreciate these formative works for the kernels of greatness that they contain. They are works of stature surprising for a young composer of his time. Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic…excel in their vivid and measured, passionate readings of the three works.

It is an excellent listen, an excellent addition to your Bartók collection. © 2014 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

Pierre-Jean Tribot, September 2014

The Buffalo Philharmonic is sharp and precise and seems to enjoy this music…this CD will remain the best blend of quality and value for a long time. © 2014

Steven A. Kennedy
Cinemusical, September 2014

Falletta’s performance of the Kossuth is fairly spot on…Intonation in high passages is excellent and the big climaxes are well balanced…a great traversal of these early pieces with excellent performances that honor the period and style of the music without trying to force the later Bartók into them… © 2014 Cinemusical Read complete review

Gary Lemco
Audiophile Audition, September 2014

JoAnn Falletta and her Buffalo Philharmonic find bravura vehicles in the scores of young Bartók, which showcase everyone in glowing colors. © 2014 Audiophile Audition Read complete review, September 2014

…these pieces communicate so well and are so interestingly orchestrated that one would expect orchestras seeking something out of the ordinary to play them at least from time to time. Falletta makes a very strong case for the Suite No. 1 to be performed more frequently. © 2014 Read complete review

Andrew Clements
The Guardian, September 2014

Based on the 1848 exploits of the Hungarian national hero Lajos Kossuth, this 20-minute exercise in Straussian musical narrative is colourful and episodic, and shows Bartók’s early gift for vivid orchestral effects. The Buffalo Philharmonic performances under JoAnn Falletta don’t stint on what this music needs: energy and colour. © 2014 The Guardian Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2014

Three works written by the young Bela Bartok to serve as visiting cards announcing to the world that a new and very personal musical voice had arrived.  With Michael Ludwig as the estimable soloist, the composer has committed champions in the Buffalo Philharmonic, their inspirational conductor, JoAnn Falletta, taking a quite brazen and striking view of Kossuth. The sound quality is outstanding and I can highly commend the disc. © 2014 David’s Review Corner

Lisa Flynn
WFMT (Chicago), August 2014

All three works in this program reveal a young composer on the threshold of greatness, serving as his passport to the vast new world of orchestral music at the beginning of the 20th century. Inspired by the tone poems of Richard Strauss, Bartók’s Kossuth dramatically commemorates the struggle for Hungarian independence in 1848 with an alluring and provocative orchestration. The Two Portraits set moods of love and painful heartbreak into stark contrast, while the First Suite is a showcase of symphonic effects which caused a sensation in Vienna at its premiere in 1905. © 2014 WFMT (Chicago)

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