Coupling the Hary Janos Suite with Kodaly ’ s two highly contrasted sets of Hungarian dances, urban and rural, is a time - honoured gambit, but Fischer has had the birght idea of adding some of the composer ’ s children ’ s choruses, and instrumental movements from the seldom - heard Hary Janos Singspiel that was the ultimate source for the perennially popular suite, in order to give a broader picture of Kodaly, both as musician and musical humorist. On the whole it works well: the Singspiel extracts are very slight, but the choruses are highly characteristic – and flawlessly sung by superbly disciplined childrens ’ choirs trained, inevitably, in the ‘ Kodaly Method ’. Nevertheless the three principal orchestral works remain the point for buying the disc, and these are very vivid, exciting interpretations. Fischer comes up against stiff competition in Antal Dorati ’ s classic 1973 recording of Hary and the dance - suites with the Philharmonia Hungarica. Dorati is ‘ straighter ’ in his readings of the pieces than Fischer, and the playing packs a tremendous punch: he also adds the Peacock Variations as coupling, and thus probably still remains the first choice.
THE ANALOGUE YEARS presents a 50-Album overview across 54 CDs, in original jackets, of the celebrated international recordings that emerged from the London-based record label in that pre-digital era.
The Collector's Edition - Celebrating a groundbreaking label - The true legacy of a legendary label. Long hailed as an audiophile's label, Mercury represents an important milestone in the history of classical recordings. A s The New York Times described, 'One feels oneself in the living presence of the orchestra'. 60 years after the landmark first recording, Mercury Living Presence: The Collector's Edition celebrates this special anniversary.
Mercury Living Presence is special in many ways - an American company, from the heyday of classical recording in the U.S. that reproduced some of the most sonically realistic recordings at the dawn of the stereo era. Precious few stereo LPs were pressed when these recordings were issued, and they became some of the rarest, most collectible classical discs ever. Mercury Living Presence continues to enjoy a special reputation as one of the most enterprising, prestigious and sonically-spectacular labels in the history of classical recording.
“An absolute must for children young and old (Háry János)”– Grammophone
“The Psalmus Hungaricus receives a bright and forceful performance under Kertész, dramatically sung by tenor Lajos Kozma.”– Gramophone Classical Good CD Guide
"Committed and idiomatic performances recorded in three-dimensional sound. The highlights from the collection are the Suite, the sets of orchestral dances and the Peacock Variations – one of the finest sets ever written; but there is interest too in the rarer Concerto for Orchestra – earlier than Bartók’s and equally nationalistic – and the three-movement Symphony of 1961. – George Hall, BBC Music Magazine
"It’s marvellous to have Kertész’s brilliantly idiomatic performances of Kodály’s best-known works. Peter Ustinov’s narration of Háry János threads the whole together." – Jan Smaczny, BBC Music Magazine
"In Dorati's hands the passionate Andante [from the Symphony] is strong in gypsy feeling and the jolly, folk-dance finale is colourful and full of vitality." – Penguin Guide
From the Notes:Although his international career lasted little more than a decade, from 1948 to 1960, Ferenc Fricsay's stylish and electrifying performances on the podium earned him fame as one of the most promising orchestral conductors of the second half of the 20th century. He worked relentlessly and his pursuit of absolute perfection made him both respected and feared amongst singers and musicians alike. And had he lived longer, he would undoubtedly have ranked amongst the greatest, easily on a par with a Bernstein or a Karajan….