To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyses reviews to verify trustworthiness.
As a child I belly laughed out loud with joy when I first heard Bartok. It would be of no consequence except that later within the same piece of music I also had to try and suppress the tears that had suddenly been made available, all this in front of my classmates.
I felt as though I had been grabbed by the lapels of my soul, shoved up against a wall and asked: “Are you big enough to get what is actually occurring ‘ere - sonically speaking - you twerp? “ Or something like that...
It was an onslaught, a visceral rush ... the pure truth and the strength of it. More, it contained unutterable sadness.
It made me acutely aware what a musical zero I was by comparison. Even worse ... I didn’t care.
That was the 6th String Quartet of Bela Bartok ... the 1963 Juilliard record. I would humbly suggest you make it a priority to hear and obtain that particular recording.
Obviously it should be force-fed to young humans while still in the cot, before they can be infantilised and reduced by their elders & lessers.
Anyhow, to get to the point ... I felt at least all that and more upon hearing these recordings of Zoltan Koscis. Words fail to convey what is contained here, let alone the parallel tragedy that it is so cheap.
The musical underclass will not be queuing to purchase this, but for those who have been granted insight and access - by nature or by nurture - to experience the astonishing genius that was Bela Bartok, I can add my voice. I have not heard any performance of this wonderful and life enhancing body of solo piano music to equal that of Zoltan Kocsis.
P.S. Good idea to check the contents are correct when it arrives. I didn’t do so when I bought this (that was from a different Amazon Marketplace seller and for just over £20- ) and I had been listening repeatedly starting from CD4. But much later I realised that there was 2 copies of CD3 and CD2 was missing. Nevertheless I did not want to send it all back and instead sourced a second hand copy of the missing CD2 in its original single CD release. So it’s a good idea to check the contents when it arrives as it’s not uncommon to hear of these packaging errors.
I first heard some of this music when I was a tiny child. My mother would play pieces from Microcosmos books 1 to 4. Later I tried playing some of the easy pieces for myself. But though they might look banal on the page each one reveals some special quality or pianistic challenge. Microcosmos is here in its six volume entirety. I have found listening to these pieces a chilling experience. Kocsis has taken Bartok's script and revealed the inner core of the whole process of making music. You have to listen very carefully and I think it helps to have access to the printed music. Give this your full attention and you will initiated afresh into the wonder of the piano. Or at least I was, and I am. In addition to Microcosmos and the CD for Children there are five disks of Bartok exploring folk tunes and dance. Endless riches here... Were I teaching in the conservatory I would require all my students to listen to these recordings. Or at least I would try to persuade them to listen. Kocsis has received the highest praise for these recordings. Fully deserved. Having listened carefully to him playing any of these pieces I believe one could go to a piano and just press down one key and hear something wonderful. I am a musician but not a pianist. Were I a pianist I would lock myself away with this recording, with a piano, and with the printed music.
The recordings: I think excellent. Dynamic range breathtaking which is always a good indicator and more important allows us to hear Zoltan Kocsis as if we were seated within touching distance of the piano. A treasured set. No less. Very good booklet.
Originally on Philips, this collection is well nigh definitive in terms of artistic achievement and recording quality. Sure there is (if you can find it) a 4 CD collection with Gyorgy Sandor on Sony, but that isn't as complete, as artistically consistent, or recorded as well as this. The presentation is bare bones (plain paper sleeves for each CD) but still has informative notes included. For the money you can't complain.
Bottom line - if you like Bartok's music but don't have the solo piano works, don't hesitate. Get this before the inevitable deletion happens and the online prices get hiked up!
I'm not disappointed with them music - just with the fact that I have opened this box set for the first time since purchase 2 years ago in lock down to discover that CD s 2 and 3 are missing !! In future I shall check the contents of any box-set bought on Amazon and be slightly less trusting than usual.
I don't buy very many "complete works" boxed sets, but I came to love Bartok's piano music after first hearing some of the orchestrated versions by Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra. I then went to a fabulous Prom concert by this combination playing some of these pieces in parallel with the solo piano versions performed by Andras Schiff.
Many commentators suggest that Hungarian music is best interpreted by Hungarian performers, and I see no reason to disagree. This is a fine set and astonishingly good value for money with 8 discs. Of course, many of the individual pieces are very short - sometimes less than a minute - but it's great to listen to in chunks - maybe the 6 Romanian Folk Dances or the 15 Hungarian Peasant Songs. However you do it, it'll carry you off to the heart of old Eastern Europe.
These recordings have been around for a while but don't show their age at all. They're a must for anyone with a "complete" fetish, but even if you think you only want a few of the pieces then I suggest you treat yourself to this set. You're bound to come across a few more little gems. And if you don't know the meaning of "rubato" before, then you'll certainly know the feeling of it afterwards.
Primero, como fan de Bartók, recomiendo estas grabaciones sólo a aquellos interesados en obtener una visión documentada de la obra del compositor. Incluye las piezas didácticas, los arreglos de danzas y sus obras románticas y modernistas. Respecto al valor artístico de las grabaciones, no tengo ninguna queja. Todas las interpretaciones contenidas en esta colección son únicas, interpretadas excelentemente y muestran a la música de Bartók como una verdadera joya, con sus múltiples influencias y su estilo modernista, folclórico. Mi única queja, los discos 3, 5 y 6 (que incluyen Para Niños y Mikrokosmos) tenían dañadas las últimas pistas (en cada disco de los mencionados, la última pista es la dañada). Una verdadera lástima.
Depuis que j'étais passé au CD j'avais délaissé le piano de Bartok. Quelle erreur ! Je redécouvre ces oeuvres grâce à ce coffret merveilleux. Si ce compositeur vous est inconnu ou vous fait peur, si sa musique d'orchestre vous paraît abrupte, ne restez pas sur ces à priori et précipitez-vous. Comme l'a dit un autre auditeur, une grande partie de son oeuvre pour piano est très accessible, mélodique, dansante, qu'il s'agisse de ses airs folkloriques hongrois, des cahiers de mélodies populaires pour les enfants, des danses roumaines ou d'autres. Une fois rentré dans cet univers vous pourrez passer aux autres pièces de ce coffret magnifique, à votre rythme avec un plaisir grandissant. L'interprétation est exemplaire et la prise de son, de bonne qualité est même remarquable parfois. Quant au prix... Précipitez-vous, vous dis-je !