The third runner-up is the hardest to choose. I found conductor Heinz Holliger's recording with the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra thought-provoking: a distinctly different interpretation, with an edgy, unconfortable finale, including a conversation between violin and cello that seems almost heartbreaking in import.
The slow movement is as nasty as they come, the vibrato-free opening sardonic and threatening. Holliger seems to penetrate to the core of the dissonances, allowing the sheer weirdness of Bartók's harmonies to make a deep impression.
However, alongside it, I must also make honourable mention of Sándor Végh's searing, red-hot performance with the Malboro Festival Strings, recorded live at the festival in 1974 (Bridge, BRIDGE9108A/B), which is electrifying from start to finish.
Article source: BBC Magazine, February 2016
Or play it here