Recorded as part of their critically praised ‘Infernal Dance’ season, the Philharmonia Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen explore three contrasting works by Bela Bartok – the chamber piece Contrasts, and the orchestral works Dance Suite and The Miraculous Mandarin.
Contrasts is one of Bela Bartok’s most imaginative forays into the world of chamber music. His only chamber work involving a woodwind instrument (for Piano, Clarinet and Violin), Contrasts originated in a commission from the American ‘King of Swing’, Benny Goodman.
Composed to mark the 50th anniversary of Budapest in 1923, Bartok’s Dance Suite is a rhapsodic collection of folk inspired tunes that marked a sonorous change in direction from the composer’s more dissonant works up to that point. The ballet-pantomime The Miraculous Mandarin is raw, dangerous, exotic and elemental: using the rarely performed full ballet score it is frenzied music, percussive, sensuous and violent, telling a shocking story of desire and death.
Ferocious savagery that Salonen uncorks…suggesting a lacerating whip – The Times
I was drawn in by the cool ferocity and steadfast virtuosity of these performances – The Guardian