James Tobin wrote:
>My first acquaintance with Sandor's playing was his recording of Bach's
>Overture in the French Manner on an early Columbia LP. One of my favorite
>performances of anything, though a piano teacher of mine once dismissed
>it as "romantic." An odd thing to say about a student of Bartok, I think.
>In any case, Sandor made the music flow in a way I have never heard
>anyone else come near.
Am I correct is assuming that you think a student of Bartok should
not be romantic...and by implication, that Bartok was not a romantic?
For me, making an equation between Bartok and romanticism is a natural
association. I think of the early works of Bartok, works like the Scherzo
for piano and orchestra which sounds like Liszt, and Bluebeard's Castle
which reminds me of Janacek.
I am reminded of the folksong recordings Bartok made and how he captured
the spirit of the music in romantic terms. There is a bite to the folk
music, and hence there is a bite to his assimilation of the style. But
for me, that does not make it any less romantic.
I must admit I have never been a fan of Sandor's Bartok. Perhaps odd
to say since he was so associated with the music. My first encounter
with the Bartok Piano Concertos was Sandor's old recordings on Vox. The
middle movement of the Second Concerto was, for me, the best of the set.
It was several years before I found a recording of the First Concerto
that gave me an appreciation for that work. I am also reminded of the
lovely Lipatti performance of the Third, and a vigorous reading when
Copland conducted it with the Boston Symphony, with Foster at the piano,
a broadcast tape I listen to from time to time.
Sandor's second set of Bartok recordings left me very disappointed.
Sandor's Bartok just didn't do it for me.