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CHAN 5130
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CHAN 5130

Bartok: Orchestral Works

The Classical Shop
release date: November 2013

Recorded in 24 Bit / 96Khz
album available as a Studio Master
Originally recorded in 2013


Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

Edward Gardner


Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Hamer Hall, The Arts Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


Stephen Snelleman

Ralph Couzens



Jim Atkins

(21 and 22 July 2011 and 4 March 2013)

Alex Stinson

(7-9 and 12 March 2013)

Alex Stinson

(Assistant: 21 and 22 July 2011 and 4 March 2013)

Chris Lawson

(Assistant: 7-9 and 12 March 2013 - live)

Record Label


Orchestral & Concertos

Total Time - 72:33
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Suite from 'The Miraculous Mandarin', Op. 19, BB 82 (1927)

  Pantomime in One Act  
  after a Scenario by Melchior Lengyel (1880-1974)  
1 Allegro - Meno mosso - Tempo I - Energico - Vivo - 2:36
2 Moderato - Rubato - Più mosso - Comodo Più lento - 3:43
3 Sostenuto - Più mosso - Meno mosso - Più mosso - 3:22
4 Sostenuto - Più mosso - Meno mosso - Più mosso - Vivo - 2:30
5 Lento - Più mosso - [A tempo più lento] - Più vivo - 3:50
6 Adagio - Tempo di Valse - Allegro - Più allegro (stretto) - 3:05

Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta, BB 114 (1936)

  in Four Movements  
7 I Andante tranquillo 8:19
8 II Allegro - Vivo - Meno vivo - Un poco largamente - 7:34
9 III Adagio - Adagio molto - Più andante - Più Lento - Più andante - 7:46
10 IV Allegro molto - Un poco meno mosso - Ancora meno mosso - Più mosso - 7:11

Four Orchestral Pieces, Op. 12, BB 64 (1912, orchestrated 1921)

11 I Preludio. Moderato - Più andante - Più mosso, molto appassionato - 7:12
12 II Scherzo. Allegro - Meno mosso - Tempo I (vivo) - Più 6:19
  mosso -  
13 III Intermezzo. Moderato - Più sostenuto - Largamente - Andante - 4:38
14 IV Marcia funebre. Maestoso - Più andante - Maestoso - Appassionato - 4:28

Edward Gardner and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra perform three great orchestral works by Béla Bartók in this new Chandos release. Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta is a seminal work written for a unique ensemble consisting two string orchestras, playing from opposite sides of the stage, and a group of percussion instruments in addition to the piano, harp, and celesta. The piece took on wider recognition when it was used by Stanley Kubrick on the soundtrack of The Shining. Also on this disc is the Suite from Bartók’s dark and gritty ballet The Miraculous Mandarin. The work, featuring some of the most colourful music Bartók wrote, tells the story of three criminals who force a young woman to lure passers-by into a room where they intend to rob them. The third passer-by to enter the room is the mandarin. The men try to kill him, but only when the girl satisfies his desire do his wounds begin to bleed, and he dies. The Four Orchestral Pieces, drafted in 1912, but not orchestrated until 1921, were written at a time when Bartók felt both misunderstood and ignored and had withdrawn from musical life in Budapest. These feelings of rejection may well have intensified the anger and cynicism found in this work. 

                                **** (Excellent album)

Giuseppe Rossi - Musica magazine (Italy) - July/August 2014

“… Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta is one of the most beautiful works in 20th century music, and this programme is completed be something of a rarity, the Four Orchestral Pieces from 1912 … This disc could make a good introduction to Bartok’s music for the mind.”

Peter Spaull – Liverpool Post – 19 December 2013

"...a thrilling CD - and an enterprising one, too, in that, though two of the items are well established in the Bartók canon, the third, the Four Orchestral Pieces, is a comparative rarity... At the heart of the disc is a totally convincing performance of one of the very greatest masterpieces of 20th century music: the Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta of 1936. As with the Four Orchestral Pieces,the rather dry title belies the stupendous feats of the imagination and intellect that permeate every page of this work. Conductor, players and engineers are as one in delivering a recording that allows every detail of the score to come alive. This is a piece where the conductor really earns his fee. Bartók has scrupulously marked every nuance, every technique, every small fluctuation in tempo, and it is clear that Edward Gardner has taken that to heart. It is not enough to ‘obey’ the strictures of the score; one must then realise the world of expression, thought and emotion that lies beneath. This performance achieves all of that..."

Gwyn Parry-Jones - - 29 January 2014

 "... These are detailed pin-sharp performances from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, with memorably euphonious horn and woodwind solos in the Four Orchestral Pieces." ****

Paul Gent - The Telegraph - 18 January 2014

"... he [Gardner] draws performances that pack a real punch while remaining attentive to significant detail lurking behind the top line: the Mandarin is full of such furtive phenomena... Excellent sound too, with clearly defined string bands in Strings, Percussion and Celesta."

Rob Cowan - Gramophone magazine - January 2014

                         Performance *****           Recording *****

“… Edward Gardner and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra give first-rate performances of all this music, with a real virtuoso account of the exhilarating Miraculous Mandarin Suite, in particular…”

Misha Donat – BBC Music magazine – January 2014


"The Melbourne orchestra sounds wonderful in these two works ... the third and fourth pieces, in particular, are infused with the grand, beautiful pathos of Bartok’s contemporaneous opera, Bluebeard’s Castle. The Miraculous mandarin ballet suite makes a sizzling beginning. Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta again reveals how much scaring intensity can lie in pure abstraction."

Paul Driver - The Sunday Times (Culture magazine) - 24 November 2013

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