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  • Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra, Miraculous Mandarin
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Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra, Miraculous Mandarin Super Audio CD - DSD


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Audio CD, Super Audio CD - DSD, July 30, 2002
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$40.00 $24.00

Product Details

  • Orchestra: New York Philharmonic
  • Conductor: Pierre Boulez
  • Composer: Bela Bartok
  • Audio CD (July 30, 2002)
  • Please Note: Requires SACD-compatible hardware
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Super Audio CD - DSD
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B00006B1NE
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,977 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 28, 2005
I must admit that I really bought this for the Miraculous Mandarin which is one of my favourite pieces. The best recording of the Suite is Georg Solti's on Decca, which comes achieves the visceral quality that this music really needs. But I wanted a good recording of the complete ballet, preferably on SACD, so this recording seemed a good bet. The reviews on Amazon.com were good, and I thought Boulez would be a good interpreter of this music, so I took a chance on it.

The Miracuolous Mandarin is wonderful, visceral, hard-hitting, strident music, somewhat in the vein of the Rite of Spring. The rushing street scene at the beginning with it's scurrying violins playing augmented octaves and chattering woodwind playing tritones should sweep you up and unsettle you from the first. And the entrance of the Mandarin, blasted out on trombones and horns, again playing the tritone figure, should pin you to the settee. Late on in the piece, the entrance of the wordless choir as the Mandarin, hung by the theives from a light fitting, starts to glow, should be utterly unearthly and prickle the hairs on the back of you neck. Unfortunately, whilst this music is beautifully played here, it remains a tad too polite, and never sweeps you along as it should. Solti, perhaps because of his firey Hungarian temprement acheives the right feel, but unfortunately the Suite finishes halfway through the piece, so some of the best music is excluded.

The concerto orchestra for which most people will buy this disc is better, it is easier music after all. The same beautiful playing is evident, with Boulez's usual precision being very evident. But for this reason it is also a little too polite.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Gatarz on October 6, 2008
I see a previous review already pointed out my main point with this. This recording of Concerto for Orchestra was not only made available in quadraphonic in the day, but was recorded to be presented in that way. The cover art of this album shows you exactly what you are missing when you listen to this horribly watered down joke of a surround mix. The original album cover of the SQ version gives a detailed description of how it was recorded and mixed to present a wonderful surround mix that puts you in the middle of the orchestra. Why then, won't they release this in the manner that it was intended to be heard? That this historic surround sound recording has been reduced to this is a tragedy. When this recording was made, the technology wasn't ready for this recording. Now the technology is ready, it's too bad that sony is full of a bunch of idiots that don't know how to take advantage of it.
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful By David B. Burgess on September 10, 2002
OK, let me make one thing clear -- if it weren't for the botched mixdown/transfer of this I would have given it 5 stars. The performance is stellar -- definitive. The problem is how the original intent of this recording became perverted.
This was released in the early 70s as a quadraphonic product, either as SQ encoded LP or discrete four channel 8 track (ok this was not the best thing for Columbia to have done, they should have used discrete reel to reel in those days)
Despite the generally atrocious sound quality of the 8 track... the spatial effect of this true surround (surrounded by the orchestra) sound comes through and literally adds a dimension most concertgoers or home listeners can't experience otherwise.
When I heard of SACD multichannel capabilities I was so in hopes that the great quad recordings of the 70s would be resurrected with the digital sound clarity of today. When I saw that this particular recording had been reissued in this format, I thought I had found the Holy Grail!
Imagine my disappointment when I put on the SACD and immediately realized that I was hearing a mostly stereo, "flat" version of what had been glorious four channel sound!! Yes, they remixed this so that it uses the middle speaker (just useless for this sort of thing, IMHO) and what little signal (could barely be heard) there was to the rear speakers was a vague attempt at supplying hall acoustics, possibly added on artificially.
Why must engineers screw with perfection?? I hate the sort of faddish approach to music reproduction that we seem to blindly follow.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Hiram Gomez Pardo HALL OF FAME on October 25, 2005
With The Miracolous Mandarin Bartók sought an approach to the symphonic genre although he did not want to recognize. Maybe because the Symphony as musical device was not precisely living its major glory. These transient times announced dark clouds in the imminent future. The nationalism fever, that fed the destiny of so many people was collapsing, acquiring now a new face and arousing the ancient and hidden social resentments specially on the East World: China and Russia.

In this sense Bartók worked out as true shaman. It does not sound exaggerate to state it. Bartok was an illustrated man and his rough dissonances are not entirely a product of his febrile imagination. He knew and felt as many others artists, something terrible was in the verge of the social environment.

Boulez 's performance revives with magnificent lucidity this ferocious sense of obscure moods and sinister horizons. His commitment level about Bartok deserves him to be named adjoined to Ferenc Fricsay, Antal Dorati, Frtz Reiner with an additional acknowledgment; those works were played three decades after the WW2. Nevertheless, Boulez, having born in 1925 was exceptional witness of the horror and the anguish of those times and with accurate expression sense knew to express it with superb eloquence.

That 's why you must acquire this set. Simply out of context. Boulez was mesmerized and that vision can be felt since the first bar. One of the most remarkable recordings of his career. It 's useless to talk the splendor of the new York Philharmonic playing these works; absolutely incandescent.
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