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.
“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….
October 21, 2012 marks Sir Georg Solti's centenary and Decca is celebrating this with several important reissues. Sir Georg was an exclusive Decca artist for 50 years.
Paul Watkins is one of the world’s finest cellists. He is much in demand throughout the world and although he has made several recordings for Chandos in the past, this is his first as an exclusive artist. He is accompanied by his brother Huw Watkins, with whom he has developed an extremely rewarding musical partnership. The three cello sonatas of the Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu span the period 1939 – 52 and are full of rewarding musical invention. The experience of his long exile was often expressed in his music, particularly here in the Third Sonata and in the Variations on a Slovak Theme. If in the First, competed in 1939, the unease occasioned by World War II may be detected in the first two movements, the energetic finale, driven by Martinu’s motoric rhythms, prompted the composer to remark of its first performance: ‘It came as a last greeting, a beam of light from a better world (which is the opinion of others, not my own). For several minutes we realised what music could give us and we forgot about reality.’