Reginald Kell plays Bartok Contrasts and Milhaud Suite
This is one gorgeous, glorious performance of Bartok's Contrasts. Like so much of his music, this piece works quite as well performed in a hard edged, no nonsense modernist manner or, like here, with the deep lyricism inherent in the tunes underscored and built upon. My favorite recording of the quartets, the 2ndJuilliard from, I believe 1963, emphasizes the intellectual, modernist Bartok, but I would not for the world be without the Vegh Quartet recordings, which are decidedly more lyrical. However he is performed, Bartoks music has always seemed to me to be filled with incredible melodic invention, the dissonance, even in the very concentrated 3rd and 4th quartets, being the consequence of boundless polyphonic ingenuity. Anyway, that's how I hear Bartok.
The Milhaud is a divertimento of sorts, and a thoroughly delightful one. He is a composer much more closely identified with compositions for wind instruments than Bartok, who wrote only this one work for a solo wind instrument. The "night music" movement in his 1st Piano Concerto, though, has some very fine and beautiful writing for winds.
I like Reginald Kell a lot. His tone is incredibly beautiful -- silk and satin -- his phrasing is impeccable, and he possesses a musical suavity that is never ostentatious but always in the service of the music. If you hadn't guessed, I adore this musician. He is joined on this recording by excellent partners Melvin Ritter, violin and Joel Rosen, piano, less famous but nonetheless estimable musicians who play admirably here.
This recording is available as part of a boxed CD set of Kells' American Decca recordings.
I grew up listening to records -- shellac and vinyl -- and the sound of a needle tracking the grooves of an old LP is still deeply comforting to me -- a sound from childhood, like the fan of the hot air furnace coming on. However turntables are now relatively scarce, and we are becoming less tolerant of noise from the medium the music is stored on, so putting up renovated files of what I consider choice, but neglected performances, seemed a good way to spend some time. There are several thousand LPs in the house, a lot of them not re-issued on CD, some of them performances of real importance. If you like something, post a comment. I'd love to hear from you.
Everything posted here is in my personal collection on LPs or 78rpm records, and any restoration to the file is done by me. I do not post anything from CDs.