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Bartok: Bluebeard's Castle Hybrid SACD - DSD

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Audio CD, Hybrid SACD - DSD, August 9, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

In the album notes, Iván Fischer discusses Bluebeard s Castle. Despite occasional successful stagings of this opera, it is concert performances that stir up the feelings of audiences most. Usually, after the opera has ended, discussions break out, dividing men and women. Whereas everybody seems to understand why Judith cannot resist her desire to open all the doors, Bluebeard s character remains controversial. Bartók, who was himself a closed, shy man, seems to have been fascinated by strange-looking characters who turn out to feel endless love.

1. Prologue - Haj rego rejtem
2. Opening Scene - Megerkerztunk
3. Door 1- Jaj! - Mit latsz? Mit latsz?
4. Door 2 - Mit latsz? - Szaz kegyertlen szornyu fegyver
5. Door 3- Oh, be sok kincs!
6. Door 4- Oh! viragok! Oh! Illatos kert!
7. Door 5- Ah! -Lasd ez az en birodalmam
8. Door 6 - Csendes feher tavat latok
9. Door 7 - Lasd a regi asszonyokat

Product Details

  • Orchestra: Budapest Festival Orchestra
  • Conductor: Ivan Fischer
  • Composer: Bela Bartok
  • Audio CD (August 9, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD
  • Label: Channel Classics
  • ASIN: B004YNRHB4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #263,797 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Klingsor Tristan on October 1, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Here is a recording and a performance of Bluebeard that finally topples my personal favourite - the Decca/Kertesz with husband and wife (at the time) team of Berry and Ludwig from 1965 - from the top of the pile. From the very beginning you know you are in good hands. Here we have the Prologue, in Hungarian, delivered with great presence and atmosphere by the conductor himself, no less. The orchestra enters where it should - before the last stanza of the spoken text. When Bluebeard appears, one is suddenly and totally aware just how important it is in this opera that the Hungarian words should sound comfortable and idiomatic - as they do here in the wonderfully rich voice of Laszlo Polgar. Komlosi, too, is in fine Slavic form as his new wife, Judith.

But it is Fischer and his Budapest Festival players who make this performance such a memorable experience. His tempi are always perfectly judged. Often there is an urgency and a dramatic pushing forward to his speeds - it is remarkable just how many piu agitato and the like or, conversely, allargando markings there are in the score - but, without having checked the multitude of metronome markings Bartok supplies, I can only say that it always feels absolutely right in context. And the colouring - so important in this piece - is beautifully pointed throughout; whether the dry rattle of the special keyboard xylophone, newly discovered in the vaults of the Budapest Opera House, for the torture chamber; the martial trumpet and horn of the armoury; the rippling celesta and solo violin in the treasury; or the warmth of the horn over harps and celesta in the castle's secret garden. Bluebeard's domain blazes out with musica di scena brass and organ as awe-inspiringly as it should and clearly does for a dazed Judith.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Moore TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 25, 2013
Format: Audio CD
Like previous reviewers, I find that this opera exercises a peculiar fascination over me. It offers a perfect fusion of drama, music, poetry and psychological acuity and moral ambiguity all presented in one enthralling Gesamtkunstwerk lasting just under an hour. In common, too, with previous reviewers, I suspect that it s best experienced either in concert performance or in the solitary confines of one's own listening room, perhaps even through headphones, where the effect can be especially chilling and disturbing. I remember in particular the scalp-prickling thrill I felt as the lock turns and the first door swings open to the accompaniment of those unworldly sighs from the lips of unseen denizens.

That was on listening to the famous recording conducted by Kertész with Christa Ludwig and Walter Berry which is still one of my favourite versions, alongside that by another Hungarian Fischer, Ádám, with Samuel Ramey and Eva Marton and Solti's with Kovats and Sass. This one by Iván Fischer is certainly excellent without displacing those favourites. I very much like having the verse by Béla Balázs intoned over the Prologue, here spoken by the conductor without quite achieving the haunting, mesmeric quality we hear in Istvan Sztankay's delivery for Solti or that by the uncredited speaker on the live broadcast from Cardiff by Mark Elder in 1992; Fischer is rather matter-of-fact.

The orchestral colouring from the Budapest Festival Orchestra here is remarkably spicy and somehow "ethnic" sounding, with hoarse clarinets, fluttery flutes and blaring brass.
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