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Scott MacClelland
Performing Arts Monterey Bay, June 2019

This new Naxos CD offers world premiere recordings of an enchanting ballet suite along with a “ballad” for clarinet and orchestra in a version that features the solo viola instead. In the scale of things, Weiner is a conservative like Dohnányi and not in the same league as either the blazingly original Bartók or the brilliant Kodály, but instead he seduces with charm and magical orchestrations. In a way, he meets the challenge of a child’s fairy tale, Csongor and Tünde in its 1959 revised version, with the same bewitched instincts as Maurice Sendak in Where the Wild Things Are. This ballet music makes me wish I were a child again, and there’s not much else these days that even comes close. The Budapest Symphony Orchestra, recorded in 2015, is conducted by Valéria Csányi with the Jubilate Girls Choir; the solo violist is Máté Szűcs. © 2019 Performing Arts Monterey Bay Read complete review

Phillip Scott
Fanfare, January 2017

The young conductor Valéria Csányi evidently knows and loves this atmospheric score. Moreover, the 13-minute Ballad is a musically substantial piece, expressively played by Szücs. All in all, this disc represents a charming discovery. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review

Don O’Connor
American Record Guide, July 2016

Weiner’s music is consistently appealing and tuneful, the colorful scoring using the womens’ chorus especially. Being a ballet, there’s naturally some break in continuity and sometimes pantomimic bits, but Weiner keeps this to a minimum. …Both recorded sound and playing are good. Maestra Csányi keeps a firm grip on proceedings. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Nick Barnard
MusicWeb International, April 2016

…a very delightful and skilfully crafted score. Weiner weaves motifs through the music which link characters effectively to their own themes. There are many attractive sections to the score—I particularly enjoyed the gently lilting The sorrowing Tünde which is followed by an exciting Witches’ Sabbath. From there to the end of the score, there is a gentle pastoral ecstasy that is very touching. Great credit in the handling of the entire score must go to conductor Valéria Cśanyi. Cśanyi is a ballet specialist and brings a fluent grace to the playing which in the absence of any comparable version feels instinctively right. For all my usual admiration of Solti in direct comparison, Cśanyi has a subtler and more emotionally engaging grasp of the score as opposed to Solti’s rather more superficial exciting dash. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Rob Cowan
Gramophone, April 2016

…conductor Valéria Csányi shapes the score as if she really loves it, right from the opening movement, ‘Prince Csongor and Mirigy the Witch’, and in the third, ‘Fairy’s Dance and Mirigy’, with its highly imaginative woodwind-writing. © 2016 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Bob McQuiston
Classical Lost and Found, March 2016

We have conductor Valéria Csányi and the Budapest MÁV Symphony Orchestra to thank for these two memorable discoveries. They receive splendid support from the Hungarian-based Jubilate Girls Choir in the ballet, while violist Máté Szücs’ passionate playing of the Ballad makes it a significant contribution to viola literature.

These [recordings]…project a lifelike, well-focused soundstage in ideal surroundings. The chorus as well as the soloist are beautifully captured and balanced against the orchestra. As for the instrumental timbre, it’s characterized by bright pleasing highs, musical-mids and clean bass. © 2016 Classical Lost and Found Read complete review

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, March 2016

…music of great charm, well orchestrated, thematically alive.

The performances give us the music in the full flush of its springtime bloom. Nicely done! © 2016 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, March 2016

Vivid and playful recording of Leo Weiner’s ballet music ‘Csongor and Tünde’ in the original version. Charming! © 2016 Pizzicato

Barry Forshaw
Classical CD Choice, March 2016

For over half a century at the Liszt Academy in Budapest, Leo Weiner taught successive generations of Hungary’s leading musicians, and won his country’s highest awards. As a composer his career was comet-like in its early brilliance and his music marked by an imaginative use of colour, masterful instrumentation and lyrical emotion. He regarded Csongor and Tünde as his magnum opus and its incidental music was later to take independent form as a ballet, heard here in its final 1959 version. © 2016 Classical CD Choice Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, February 2016

Why Leo Weiner’s name has so quickly fallen into oblivion is particularly strange after those early compositions had been so enthusiastically greeted by the critics. One of his favourite scores was Csongor and Tund, a work he loved so much that he tried to cast it in as many guises as possible so as to ensure its continued life in the concert hall and in the theatre. The story is of the Prince and the Fairy who fall in love, but are attacked by every type of evil the world can muster. For Weiner it started life with a commission to write incidental music for the play in 1913, and in that form it was first heard in 1916, though a scherzo had already been been played in the concert hall. From that score in 22 sections he constructed several orchestral suites, but having considering a six-movement version as being ideal, he then turned to the idea of creating a ballet in nine sections, which eventually became fourteen. It is that long forgotten 1959 version that we now have on disc for a world premiere recording. A gorgeous piece, though by the 1950’s Weiner’s style of composing had long passed into the history books. I would ask you to forget its time frame, and to listen to it for its beauty and colourful scoring. Valéria Csányi certainly seems to love the score, her persuasive performance and excellent playing of the Budapest Orchestra doing everything they can for the music. Weiner seemed equally in love with the Ballade for clarinet and piano, later adding a version for viola and piano with a few changes, then orchestrating the piano part of the clarinet version, and soon after that he did the same for the viola work, but now with a different orchestration. We hear it in the viola and orchestra guise and with the seductive tonal quality of Máté Szűcs, the principal viola of the Berlin Philharmonic. Excellent sound quality throughout. © 2016 David’s Review Corner

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