BARTÓK Concerto for Orchestra
Anyone on the hunt for a competitive digital version of Bartók’s masterly Concerto for Orchestra need look no further. Among recent rivals, only Zoltán Kocsis and his excitingly transformed Hungarian National Philharmonic begin to show comparable insights but not even they can match Fischer and company for keen observation, tingling spontaneity, adrenalin-fuelled virtuosity (the finale’s main presto shoots off like a rocket), heartache (unforgettably plangent strings in the Elegia – here, as elsewhere, some tastefully judged portamento proves a boon), wicked humour and attractive local colour (who could resist those fabulous ‘bagpiping’ winds and fiddles from bar 188 or 2’45” in the finale?). It really is all tremendously compelling and comes flanked by zestful accounts of the earthy 1926 Village Scenes for female chorus and chamber orchestra (a shame that neither texts nor translations are provided) and the stirring early tone-poem Kossuth. With hugely vivid, if not quite state-of-the-art sound, here is a mid-price reissue not to be missed.