Concerto for Orchestra

Bartók wrote this brilliant, atmospheric orchestral showcase for the legendary conductor Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.


Recommended recording:
Chicago SO/Fritz Reiner
BMG Living Stereo 82876613902

Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta

Bartók creates an extraordinary range of colours and atmospheric effects from an unusual collection of instruments, including a virtuosic solo piano part.

Recommended recording:
Hungarian National PO/Zoltán Kocsis Hungaroton
HSACD 32510

Piano Concerto No. 3

Listeners who fear Bartók’s music may be too astringent for their taste should try the nature portrait at the heart of this Concerto’s slow movement.

Recommended recording:
András Schiff; Budapest Festival Orchestra/Iván Fischer
Warner Maestro 2564696558

Duke Bluebeard’s Castle

One of Bartók’s most powerful works, this psychological drama involves Bluebeard and his wife Judith, who insists on discovering all her husband’s dark secrets.

Recommended recording:
Elena Zhidkova, Willard White; LSO/Valery Gergiev
LSO Live LSO 0675

Romanian Folk Dances

Bartók at his most light and accessible, revealing in the blend of central European with a touch of the Moorish.


Recommended recording:
Hungarian National PO/Zoltán Kocsis
Hungaroton HSACD 32506


Freya ParrDigital Editor and Staff Writer, BBC Music Magazine

Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.