Bartók: The Wooden Prince; Dance Suite / Măcelaru, WDR Symphony Orchestra

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Following their first album for Linn (Dvorák: Legends Op. 59, Czech Suite Op. 39), the WDR Sinfonieorchester and Cristian Măcelaru pursue the same folk vein...

Following their first album for Linn (Dvorák: Legends Op. 59, Czech Suite Op. 39), the WDR Sinfonieorchester and Cristian Măcelaru pursue the same folk vein with two orchestral works by Béla Bartók. Based on a rather childish tale (prince, princess, fairies, and of course a happy ending!), the music of the ballet The Wooden Prince – recorded in full here – has all the ingredients of a masterpiece: masterful scoring for large forces, use of musical themes, an effortless amalgam of folk and late-Romantic elements.

Composed in 1923 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the merging of the towns of Buda and Pest – alongside commissions by Ernö Dohnányi and Zoltán Kodály – the century-old Dance Suite is a six-movement work that has become one of Bartók’s best known compositions. Born in Timișoara, a short distance from Hungary, Măcelaru can boast an unparalleled understanding of Bartók, as evident here.

REVIEW:

For overall quality Măcelaru rivals Mälkki, and comparing the two readings episode by episode, one is as likely as the other to convey a little more mood and color. But neither really has the freshness of discovery and excitement heard in Boulez’s first account on Sony, and neither of the two orchestras, the WDR Symphony and Helsinki Philharmonic, approaches Boulez’s spectacular results with the New York Philharmonic.

Măcelaru is up against it again in the Dance Suite, which has had outstanding recordings from Fricsay, Boulez, Solti, and Iván Fischer, among others. Less raw than Solti, Măcelaru shows himself a master of the score in a reading that crackles with aliveness and presence. He gets animated playing from the Cologne musicians, and you quickly forget that they are not on a par with eminent ensembles in this music.

I was captivated from start to finish, and more importantly, I got a bead on Măcelaru beyond my only other exposure to him, in the Shostakovich piano concertos. There’s no reason not to give this release the same enthusiastic praise that has become the norm for Măcelaru. The recorded sound is full, vivid, and lifelike.

-- Fanfare



Product Description:


  • Release Date: March 10, 2023


  • UPC: 691062071420


  • Catalog Number: CKD714


  • Label: Linn Records


  • Number of Discs: 1


  • Period: 20th Century


  • Composer: Bela Bartok


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: WDR Sinfonieorchester


  • Performer: Cristian Macelaru



Works:


  1. A fából faragott királyfi (The Wooden Prince), Op. 13, BB 74

    Composer: Béla Bartók

    Ensemble: West German Radio Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Cristian Măcelaru


  2. Dance Suite, BB 86a

    Composer: Béla Bartók

    Ensemble: West German Radio Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Cristian Măcelaru