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KODÁLY, Z.: Concerto for Orchestra / Dances of Galánta / Dances of Marosszék / The Peacock Variations (Buffalo Philharmonic, Falletta)

Naxos 8.573838

   Fanfare, July 2018
   Fanfare, July 2018
   American Record Guide, May 2018
   Classical Net, April 2018
   The WholeNote, April 2018
   Audio Video Club of Atlanta, April 2018
   Gramophone, April 2018
   MusicWeb International, March 2018
   The Buffalo News, March 2018
   MusicWeb International, March 2018, March 2018, March 2018
   WFMT (Chicago), February 2018, February 2018
   iClassical, January 2018, January 2018
   Pizzicato, January 2018
   The Guardian, January 2018

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Phillip Scott
Fanfare, July 2018

Falletta makes the best case I have heard for the piece [Kodály’s Concerto for Orchestra], much more vital than the composer’s own recording for DG… She supersedes my former favorite version by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos (Collins Classics)… © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review

Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, July 2018

JoAnn Falletta’s performance with the Buffalo Philharmonic is so spellbinding it’s guaranteed to win over many new music lovers to Kodály’s score.

I have the Järvi disc, and it’s still wonderful, but boldness encourages me to assert that Falletta’s new release with her Buffalo ensemble may just be the most thrilling Kodály recording we’ve had in over 25 years. She obviously believes in this music and conveys her love and enthusiasm for it to her players. If you don’t share that love and enthusiasm after hearing this release, I’ll eat my words. Urgently recommended. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review

Donald R Vroon
American Record Guide, May 2018

The sound is excellent, as is the orchestra. Falletta and Buffalo is a winning combination, and I’m glad they are making recordings. © 2018 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

R. James Tobin
Classical Net, April 2018

An outstanding quality of Falletta’s conducting is that she seems always to select the right tempos, which contributes to the clarity of her phrasing and thus the satisfaction of the results for the listener. That is certainly the case here. Naxos’ engineering is of high quality, enhancing any solos. On this disc, flute solos and at least one horn solo, are especially striking. © 2018 Classical Net Read complete review

Janos Gardonyi
The WholeNote, April 2018

These days, when symphony orchestras are going bankrupt all over America, the nearby Buffalo Philharmonic is flourishing. This is the second recording that came to my attention by JoAnn Falletta, their music director, recorded at Kleinhans Music Hall, with fabulous acoustics and designed by one of the forefathers of modern architecture, Eliel Saarinen.

Superb recording, highly recommended. © 2018 The WholeNote Read complete review

Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, April 2018

…JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic give us four more pulse-quickening reasons to revere Kodály’s name: the Concerto for Orchestra, the Galánta and the Marosszék Dances, and the Peacock Variations. All are works in which wickedly precise cueing by the conductor and demon execution by the orchestra are at a premium in music in which boldly characterized elements and changes in time signature succeed and illuminate one another with breathtaking rapidity. These are also very rich scores harmonically, in which every instrument in the orchestra gets a real workout.

The very best work on the program is undoubtedly Kodály’s set of 16 Variations on a Hungarian folksong, The Peacock (1939). As with the better-known János Háry Suite, the composer shows himself to be an absolute master of color, harmony, and orchestral nuance in this work. © 2018 Audio Club of Atlanta Read complete review

Andrew Mellor
Gramophone, April 2018

Of similar architectural interest are Kodály’s Variations on a Hungarian Folk Song, written the year before. Again, the performance is marked out by its sense of care: the counterpoint of rhythms in Variations 6 and 7, the delicate sparkle in Var 10 and the steady climb to the theme’s final emancipation that ratchets up from Var 12 to the end are all well plotted here. The big moments come off fine but the journeys thereto enchant more.

Kodály’s well-known dance sets speak more plainly, and we hear how good some of the Buffalo players are (notably the solo clarinet). © 2018 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Leslie Wright
MusicWeb International, March 2018

When one thinks of a concerto for orchestra, Bartók’s popular work naturally comes to mind. Kodály’s Concerto for Orchestra, which predates Bartók’s by a few years, is quite different in its form. It is more of a concerto grosso in the Baroque manner where solo roles for several performers are combined in a unified structure. …It certainly receives a splendid performance here by JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic.

Falletta’s treatment of [Dances of Galánta] is broader than those others, but makes up in lyricism and warmth what it lacks in verve in the faster parts of the score. She is given full-bodied sound that enhances the richness of the strings and yet brings out all the character in the winds. …Her violin solo, followed by double basses, in the middle of the piece is outstanding, as is the beautiful horn solo later in the work. © 2018 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Jeff Simon
The Buffalo News, March 2018

What is apparent throughout the newest fine disc by JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is how far from genius Kodaly was. He was a gifted orchestrator of colorful music making pleasant use of folk materials of his own and neighboring countries. © 2018 The Buffalo News Read complete review

Richard Hanlon
MusicWeb International, March 2018

The superb Tim Handley production gives Falletta and the fine Buffalo players the sound they truly deserve…

The longest work on the disc is generally considered to be Kodály’s orchestral masterpiece: the Variations on a Hungarian Folksong ‘The Peacock’. In this work, Falletta magically distils the essence of an authentic ‘Hungarian’ Kodály sound. The playing of the Buffalo Phiharmonic is sparkling but earthy throughout. © 2018 MusicWeb International Read complete review, March 2018

Falletta tunes into the rhythmic contrasts of Kodály’s music with particular skill, and this serves especially well in the two dance sets, from Galánta and Marosszék: the orchestra follows her lead unerringly and the dances accordingly lounge, perk, sway, swerve and bounce as they should. While it is true that the Buffalo Philharmonic lacks the exceptionally warm string tone characteristic of Hungarian and other Central European orchestras, and has a brass section that is somewhat brighter and less mellow, it is also true that the ensemble’s precision in this music gives it a crispness that nicely complements the warmth inherent in Kodály’s instrumentation. And the players, individually and collectively, are amply virtuosic, as is particularly evident in the Concerto for Orchestra, so much less frequently heard than the similarly titled one by Bartók. © 2018 Read complete review

Colin Anderson, March 2018

…a warm welcome to the latest single-composer Naxos release from JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic, opening handsomely with Galántai táncok (1933), folksy and frisky music guaranteed to seduce and stimulate—and raise a smile—and including here a ripe horn solo summoning party revellers, some bewitching clarinet contributions from Todd Levy, and a lively spirit that is infectious, aided by some affectionate expressive touches from Falletta and with fine attention to detail, not least timpani. As its bookend companion, Marosszéki táncok (1929) is no-less-engaging, aching with emotional melody, boogieing with spiky rhythms, and presenting a vivid picture of this Romanian region. © 2018 Read complete review

Lisa Flynn
WFMT (Chicago), February 2018

Zoltán Kodály, like his compatriot Béla Bartók, wrote major orchestral scores that were deeply enriched by his research into Hungarian folk music. The Dances of Galánta and Dances of Marosszék are full of swagger and vitality, and the Concerto for Orchestra, commissioned for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s 50th anniversary, is lush, sparkling, and vivid. Like the Variations on a Hungarian Folk Song, a virtuoso showcase of sizzling effects, these scores reveal the brilliance of his orchestral colors and the indelible allure of traditional themes. © 2018 WFMT (Chicago)

James Manheim, February 2018

…the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor JoAnn Falletta perform a major service here by recording Kodály’s comparatively rare Concerto for orchestra… The Variations on a Hungarian Folk Song of Kodály are also well worth a hearing: zippy little takes on the song that approach Bartók for economy. And if it’s beautiful tunes you’re after, the final Dances of Marosszék has one to rival anything in Bartók. A very satisfying hour-plus of Hungarian music, and Naxos gets excellent engineering results from Buffalo’s Kleinhans Music Hall, one of the finer among the older American symphony halls. © 2018 Read complete review

iClassical, January 2018

For me the best of the present CD is the account of the Dances of Galánta in which Falletta leads the Buffalo Philharmonic to steadily build towards a truly brilliant climax to match any in the catalogue…

Individually these works are all performed very well and together they combine to produce a highly enjoyable listening experience. …This CD would get a strong recommendation at any price. However with its excellent Naxos sound and at bargain price it is unmissable and is our Bargain Choice for February. © 2018 iClassical Read complete review

David Hurwitz, January 2018

What’s not to love? JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic offer another appealing and wholly successful program. Here are seventy-seven minutes of music that you really can sit down and play straight through. Give it a try and listen for yourself. © 2018 Read complete review

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, January 2018

This Kodály program is dominated by feelings of melancholy and nostalgia. Joan Falletta cares for these moods, avoiding extroverted brilliance and virtuosity. © 2018 Pizzicato

Erica Jeal
The Guardian, January 2018

…where Bartók is spiky, Kodály’s orchestral works have more of a lush, romantic sensibility, captured solidly here by the Buffalo Philharmonic and its longstanding music director, JoAnn Falletta. © 2018 The Guardian Read complete review

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