The first female conductor of a major orchestra (and a Grammy nominee), Marin Alsop turns the changes in dynamics on a dime in her reading of Bartók's glorious paean to the forces of the orchestra. Not only is it a brilliant showcase for each instrumental section, but its structural ingenuity unites classical forms and sonorities with the pungency of folk rhythms and harmonies. The varied instrumental colors of the disc's second piece also come across vividly.
"In its bold, brightly coloured gestures, quite unlike anything else in Bartók's output, the music [of the Concerto] seems to have been conceived with the upfront style of American orchestral playing in mind…. Her account of the Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta … is very impressive, controlled and pungent."—The Guardian