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Documents of the Munich Years, Vol. 5 - Bartok: Bluebeard's Castle, Piano Concerto, Miraculous Mandarin

B. Bartok Audio CD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (December 14, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Oehms
  • ASIN: B0006SST3Q
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #308,068 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Applause
2. Duke Bluebeard's Castle (A kékszakkallú Herceg Vára), opera in one act, Sz. 48, BB 62 (Op. 11): Prolog
3. Duke Bluebeard's Castle (A kékszakkallú Herceg Vára), opera in one act, Sz. 48, BB 62 (Op. 11): Bluebeard's Castle
4. Duke Bluebeard's Castle (A kékszakkallú Herceg Vára), opera in one act, Sz. 48, BB 62 (Op. 11): Doors I see
5. Duke Bluebeard's Castle (A kékszakkallú Herceg Vára), opera in one act, Sz. 48, BB 62 (Op. 11): First Door: Torture Chamber
6. Duke Bluebeard's Castle (A kékszakkallú Herceg Vára), opera in one act, Sz. 48, BB 62 (Op. 11): Second Door: Armoury
7. Duke Bluebeard's Castle (A kékszakkallú Herceg Vára), opera in one act, Sz. 48, BB 62 (Op. 11): Third Door: Treasury
8. Duke Bluebeard's Castle (A kékszakkallú Herceg Vára), opera in one act, Sz. 48, BB 62 (Op. 11): Fourth Door: Garden
9. Duke Bluebeard's Castle (A kékszakkallú Herceg Vára), opera in one act, Sz. 48, BB 62 (Op. 11): Fifth Door: Bluebeard's Realm
10. Duke Bluebeard's Castle (A kékszakkallú Herceg Vára), opera in one act, Sz. 48, BB 62 (Op. 11): Sixth Door: Lake of Tears
See all 13 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Piano Concerto No. 3 in E major, Sz. 119, BB 127 (completed by Tibor Serly): I. Allegretto
2. Piano Concerto No. 3 in E major, Sz. 119, BB 127 (completed by Tibor Serly): II. Adagio religioso
3. Piano Concerto No. 3 in E major, Sz. 119, BB 127 (completed by Tibor Serly): III. Allegro vivace
4. The Miraculous Mandarin, suite for orchestra, Sz. 73a, BB 82 (Op. 19)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Only the Miraculous Mandarin rises to a high standard November 30, 2006
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James Levine spent quixotic seasons with the Munich Phil., a second-tier German orchestra that wasted his talents (now gloriously on display with the BSO). rumor had it that he was usisng the orchestra as a lanching pad for the Berlin Phil, but in any case, Oehms has released some excellent live concerts. This bartok colleciton is one of the most disappointing. however. Levine is a superb Bartok conductor, and his recent bluebeard's Castle in Boston was a smash. Here he is saddled with the aging John Tomlinson and the totally inadequate, almost feeble Kremena Dilcheva. Despite Levine's wonderful control over color and drama, the singing disqualifies the entire performance from serious consideration.

The Bartok Piano Concerto #3 features the exciting young American Jonathan Biss, who exhibits fluent phrasing and assurance but who wasn't really experienced enough to bring off a distinctive reading on the order of, say, Piotr Anderszewski or vladimir Ashkenazy (Biss was about 23 when this concert was recorded in 2003). Another liability is that the recording places the piano so far forward that we lose the orchestra too much of the time.

Which leaves The Miraculous Mandarin in what is described as "the first version of the suite." Here levine gives us a great reading, full of ideas, ccompletely unified, and glowingly roantic in the midst of the ballet's grotesqueries. It's almost worth the entire, expensive 2-CD set, but don't expect the Munich Phil. to sound world class. Their willigness to play with total commitment counts for a lot, however, and I was riveted from first to last.
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