Bartók: Orchestral Works
Georg Solti
Catalogue No.

Georg Solti studied piano with Bartók and although they never developed a close personal relationship, Solti was always in awe of the composer’s dedication and intensity. In 1937, he was also page-turner for the first performance of the Sonata for Two Pianos & Percussion given by the composer and his wife, Ditta Bartók-Pasztory. Bartók’s music featured regularly in Solti’s concert programs and he recorded the Concerto for Orchestra, Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta and ‘The Miraculous Mandarin’ again with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The ‘Dance Suite’ was also recorded in an earlier version with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1952 – one of his earliest orchestral discs. While, fundamentally, Solti did not change his approach to much of the music he conducted through his career, the freshness and excitement of these early London performances is to be treasured. The 1963 recording of Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta appears internationally on Decca CD for the first time. This release forms part of a mini-series on Eloquence of, in the main, Solti’s early recordings.


Concerto for Orchestra, Sz. 116
Dance Suite, Sz. 77
The Miraculous Mandarin – Suite, Op. 19

Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, Sz.106*

London Symphony Orchestra
Georg Solti

Divertimento for Strings, Sz.113
Hungarian Sketches, Sz.97
Romanian Folk Dances, Sz.68

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Georg Solti


Recording information

Recording Producers: John Culshaw (Concerto for Orchestra); Ray Minshull (Dance Suite); Erik Smith (Miraculous Mandarin, Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta); Michael Haas (Divertimento); Michael Woolcock (Hungarian Sketches, Romanian Folk Dances)
Recording Engineers: Kenneth Wilkinson (Concerto for Orchestra, Dance Suite, Miraculous Mandarin, Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta); Stanley Goodall (Divertimento); Colin Moorfoot (Hungarian Sketches, Romanian Folk Dances)
Recording Locations: Kingsway Hall, London, UK, 10 & 14 December 1963 (Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta), 17 & 31 December 1963 (Miraculous Mandarin), 15, 20 & 26 February 1965 (Concerto for Orchestra), 7 May 1965 (Dance Suite); Orchestra Hall, Chicago, Illinois, USA, 22 January & 2–3 February 1990 (Divertimento), 11 & 13 November 1993 (Romanian Folk Dances), 20 November 1993 (Hungarian Sketches)
Remastering Engineers: Andrew Wedman (CD1), Chris Bernauer (CD2)


‘The Divertimento is superbly done … incisive and full –bodied, and the Hungarian and Romanian dances have all the atmosphere one could wish for’ *** Penguin Guide to Compact Discs & DVDs

‘There is more spontaneity too [than in his Chicago recording] and one senses Solti’s Hungarian upbringing more readily here (Concerto for Orchestra) … the performance is strong and fiery and the recording exemplary (Dance Suite)’ *** Penguin Guide to Compact Discs & DVDs

‘Solti secures an excellently played and finely graded reading … The Decca engineers give us clean-cut tone without it becoming dry … Balance is most sensitive throughout’ (Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta) Gramophone, November 1964

‘There is a daemonic intensity about this which never lets up … a brilliant performance of a disturbing work’ (The Miraculous Mandarin: Suite) Gramophone, November 1964