Georg Solti studied piano with Bartók and although they never developed a close personal relationship, Solti was always in awe of the composer’s dedication and intensity. In 1937 he was also page-turner for the first performance of the Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion given by the composer and his wife, Ditta Bartók-Pasztory. Bartók’s music featured regularly in Solti’s concert programs and he recorded the Concerto for Orchestra, Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta and The Miraculous Mandarin again with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The Dance Suite was also recorded in an earlier version with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1952 – one of his earliest orchestral discs. While, fundamentally, Solti did not change his approach to much of the music he conducted through his career, the freshness and excitement of these early London performances is to be treasured. The 1963 recording of Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta appears internationally on Decca CD for the first time. This release forms part of a mini-series on Eloquence of, in the main, Solti’s early recordings.
“Solti secures an excellently played and finely graded reading […] The Decca engineers give us clean-cut tone without it becoming dry […] Balance is most sensitive throughout” (Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta) - “There is a daemonic intensity about this which never lets up […] a brilliant performance of a disturbing work” (The Miraculous Mandarin: suite) Gramophone
“The Divertimento is superbly done … incisive and full –bodied, and the Hugarian and Romanian dances have all the atmosphere one could wish for” * * * - “‘There is more spontaneity too [than in his Chicago recording] and one senses Solti’s Hungarian upbringing more readily here [Concerto for Orchestra] […] the performance is strong and fiery and the recording exemplary” (Dance Suite) * * * The Penguin Guide