Album of the week: The masterpiece I’d never heard

It has been an age since I looked to my shelves for a work by a major composer and found that, after 40 years of building a library, I don’t have it. Nor, so far as I recall, have I ever heard it, either in concert or on the radio (though a few recordings do exist)….

Happily the gap has now been filled. Find out what it is here.

bartok field recording

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  • I have been listening to classical music for a similar time, and recently discovered for the first time the violin concerto by Max Reger. How on earth is this NOT in the standard repertoire?

    Reger’s late-romantic heavily contrapuntal idiom is not to all tastes (I say that if you dislike Brahms you will hate Reger). He is certainly not programmed regularly in the UK – I recall his ‘Variations and fugue on a merry theme of Johann Adam Hiller’ appearing on posters for an Albert Hall concert as ‘Variations on a theme of Hitler’!

  • I don’t get it…. The Zukerman/Pearlman recording is a real classic and even the one on ECM by Keller and Pilz has been widely reviewed! Why is this such a surprise for someone who considers himself a collector of classical recordings? I’ve heard some of the duos done as encores with violin soloits and concert masters… Why the surprise?

  • I suppose the 44 Bartok duos are a “niche product”. They are known to most violinists who have made it to the intermediate level of violin playing. I have played some of the duos with my violin teacher and I suspect that many other violinists have done so with their teachers. I agree that the Perlman/Zukerman recording is wonderful. In any event, it is nice that Norman has brought these duos to the attention of more people by reviewing this newest recording.

  • THe great violinists Viktoria Mullova and Thomas Zehetmair did a selection of the Duos at the 2005 Proms. It was quite a high profile concert

  • The online BBC listings (since 1923) shows that the Duos have been broadcast (either whole or in selection) many times.

    I particularly remember the broadcast by Sandor Vegh & Alberto Lysy

    These are pretty mainstream pieces.

  • Also for 2 violins: Luciano Berio’s Duetti, which are fantastic — some of them sounding (almost) like a string quartet at times.

  • Surprised that he didn’t know this work. Every violinist has gone through these duos a hundred times, although I admit they’re not performed all too often as a set. I usually perform 8-10 of them at a time.

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