October 12, 2023

Exploring Romania and Hungary’s Shared Roots Through Kodály And Bartók’s Works

Pentatone releases Kodály Te Deum & Psalmus Hungaricus Bartók Cantata Profana & Transylvanian Dances, together with the Transylvania State Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra and conductor Lawrence Foster, in November 2023.

Choral-Orchestral Works Exploring Shared Romanian-Hungarian Roots

The Transylvania State Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra and conductor Lawrence Foster present choral-orchestral works by Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály. They join forces with a remarkable group of soloists – including Luiza Fatyol, Roxana Constantinescu, Marius Vlad, Ioan Hotea and Bogdan Baciu – as well as the Junior VIP children’s choir.

The album opens with Kodály’s Budavári Te Deum and Psalmus Hungaricus, followed by Bartók’s Transylvanian Dances and culminating in the composer’s Cantata Profana. The latter work, based on ancient myth, was originally conceived in Romanian, but the piece is usually performed in a Hungarian version. This recording reinstates the Romanian original version, retouched by choir conductor Cornel Groza. In general, this recording by Romanian ensembles of works by Hungarian composers linked to Romanian sources can be seen as an exploration of Romania and Hungary’s shared roots, and of the bicultural nature of Transylvania in particular.

Lawrence Foster has a vast Pentatone discography, including several orchestral and complete opera recordings. The Transylvania State Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra so far featured on two Pentatone recordings under the baton of Foster: Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West (2021) and Melody Moore’s solo recital Remembering Tebaldi (2023), the choir also on Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera (2023). Roxana Constantinescu featured on Pentatone recordings of Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana and Puccini’s Il tabarro (both 2020), while Marius Vlad appeared on the above-mentioned La Fanciulla del West recording.

“The inclusion of the Cantata Profana on this disc is more than justified, given its Transylvanian roots: we owe the Cluj musicologist Francisc László the articulation, based on archival evidence, of the most important arguments according to which Bartók initially conceived the Cantata with a Romanian libretto, starting from the two variants of a Christmas carol (Fiii vînători preschimbaţi în cerbi[Nine Enchanted Stags]), collected from the Mureș area, in 1914. 

The work was intended to be part of a Hungarian-Romanian-Slovak cycle meant to give voice to Bartók’s recurring idea of the close ties between the peoples of Central and Eastern Europe. But Bartók only composed the Cantata Profana, which contains some of the most valuable and interesting pages of his work: the writing is not only technically complex but also aesthetically and psychologically breathtaking, while the dramatic intensity runs like a red thread through the entire work.” 

Oana Andreica (author and musicologist)


Luiza Fatyol (Soprano)
Roxana Constantinescu (Mezzo-Soprano)Marius Vlad (Tenor)
Ioan Hotea (Tenor)
Bogdan Baciu (Baritone)

Junior VIP (Children’s Choir)
Chorus Master: Anca-Monca Mariaş

Transylvania State Philharmonic Choir 
Cosmina Gabor (Soprano)
Melinda Duffner (Mezzo-Soprano)
Lorant Barta (Tenor)
Ruben Ciungan (Baritone)

Chorus Master: Cornel Groza

Transylvania State Philharmonic Orchestra
Concertmaster: Ana Török
Assistant to the conductor: Clelia Cafiero
Conducted by Lawrence Foster

Digital Release Date: 3 NOVEMBER 2023

Physical Release: NOVEMBER 2023

Released as 1 SACD and in digital formats for streaming and high-resolution downloads.