Bartók: The Wooden Prince & Dance Suite
Label: Linn Records
Format: COMPACT DISC
WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln; Macelaru, Cristian
Following their first album for Linn (Dvorák: Legends Op. 59, Czech Suite Op. 39), the WDR Sinfonieorchester and Cristian Macelaru pursue the same folk vein with two orchestral works by Béla Bartók. Based on a rather childish tale (prince, princess, fairies, and of course a happy ending!), the music of the ballet The Wooden Prince – recorded in full here – has all the ingredients of a masterpiece: masterful scoring for large forces, use of musical themes, an effortless amalgam of folk and late-Romantic elements. Composed in 1923 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the merging of the towns of Buda and Pest – alongside commissions by Ernö Dohnányi and Zoltán Kodály – the century-old Dance Suite is a six-movement work that has become one of Bartók’s best known compositions. Born in Timișoara, a short distance from Hungaria, Macelaru can boast an unparalleled understanding of Bartók, as evident here.