Bartók: Miraculous Mandarin suite; Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta; Four Pieces Op 12

Fri, Jan 10, 2014, 00:00



Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Edward Gardner



Bartók wrote his rarely heard Four Orchestral Pieces, Op 12, in 1912 but didn’t orchestrate them until much later, with the experience of the ballet The Wooden Prince, and the pantomime The Miraculous Mandarin behind him. The Scherzo of Op 12 prefigures much from the chilling pantomime, and the two works function well as companion pieces. Edward Gardner and his Australian orchestra give first-rate accounts of both pieces, having their cake and eating it in the way they relish both acerbicities of style and lush orchestral colouring. The 1936 Music for strings, percussion and celesta, a master-class in orchestral sonorities and spatial deployment of instruments, is every bit as beguiling.