On this specially-priced 8-CD set Zoltan Kocsis performs the complete solo piano music of his fellow Hungarian, B la Bart k. Completed in 2001, these critically acclaimed, definitive performances are the benchmark against which all others are considered.
The Messiaen celebrations come to an overwhelming climax with this superb 32-CD set of his complete works. The limited edition, from Deutsche Grammophon, is a one-of-a kind deluxe edition. The crowning gem of this box set is a performance of the two piano Visions de l'Amen with Olivier Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod, recorded in Paris in 1962.
The box set comprised 100 volumes featuring 72 pianists of the 20th century, each volume with two CDs and a booklet about the life and work of the featured pianist. The set contains a variety of composers from different eras, from Baroque to Contemporary classical.
The Végh Quartet was not only one of the finest string quartets from mid-twentieth century Europe, but its style was never subjected to radical change over the years from personnel changes because the four original players remained members for 38 of the 40 years of the ensemble's existence. Its style evolved in subtle ways, of course, but its essential character endured until 1978: the quartet was Central European in its sound, with a bit more prominence given to the cello in order to build tonal qualities from the bottom upward. The Végh Quartet was best known for its cycles – two each – of the Beethoven and Bartók quartets. It also performed and recorded many of the Haydn quartets, as well as numerous other staples of the repertory by Mozart, Schumann, Brahms, and Debussy. For a group that disbanded in 1980, its recordings are still quite popular, with major efforts available in varied reissues from Music & Arts, Archipel, Naïve, and Orfeo.
Béla Bartók was one of the leading Hungarian and European composers of his time, proficient also as a pianist. He joined his friend Zoltán Kodály in the collection of folk-music in Hungary and neighbouring regions, including, in his case, Anatolia. His work in this field deeply influenced his own style of composition, which is, however, very much more astringent in its apparent mathematical organisation than much of what Kodály wrote. He was out of sympathy with the government that replaced the immediate post-1918 republic in Hungary, where he was held in less official esteem than abroad, and moved in 1940 to the United States, dying there in relatively straitened circumstances in 1945.