Beware opening doors to a dark soul within, says our critic of a Boulez-Bartók marriage.

Bluebeard’s Castle
Siegmund Nimsgern b-bar , Tatiana Troyanos ms , BBC Symphony/Pierre Boulez
SONY 5099994819

As a young music student in the late 1970s I was enamoured of all the great modernist composers, but Béla Bartók became an obsession; his uncompromising aesthetic, abstract formal designs and a tonal language that was radical yet based on primitive folk idioms struck a chord, and I suspect I was one of the few students who enjoyed playing his Mikrokosmos.

You may think living in Hobart would have been a disadvantage for one with such exotic tastes, however I was lucky such a remote city had a marvellous record store with a sophisticated range of music. I would save my pocket money for a visit to pick up rare imports such as EMI Reflexe (my first encounters with Jordi Savall), ECM or Wergo and receive a tirade by Stefan, the owner, about the poor quality of local pressings...

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