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Published on May 31, 2009
The first part of Bartok's masterpiece, a slow, dark piece of music based on the idea of the fugue. It is actually at the same time a tribute to and a radical overturn of traditional (classical and baroque) counterpoint and harmony. Here the RIAS symphony Orchestra under Ferenc Fricsay, who was Bartok's student, deliver an incredible, stunning performance. For me this is the best version ever of this work and it is a shame that Deutche Grammophone could not record it in stereo. Still you can listen to Fricsay's genius approach to Bartok's work and the orchestra's superb level, a combination that, for me, is unsurpassed until today, although admittedly I have not heard every single recording out there, but still I have many.