Another historic concert this week, featuring the New Philharmonic of Radio France, guest conducted by Janos Ferencsik and featuring Zoltan Kocsis in a program of music by Lizst and Bartok. Recorded at the Salle Pleyel on July 21, 1977.
The program starts with the familiar Les Preludes by Liszt. And then the orchestra is joined by Pianist Zoltan Kocsis in a performance of Lizsts Piano concerto Number 1. And the concert concludes with Bartok’s Concerto For Orchestra. All warmly received by the Salle Pleyel audience and recorded during what I think was one of the first series of concerts for the newly refounded orchestra (1976-1977 season).
Janos Ferenscik was an integral part of musical life in Hungary. A friend of Bela Bartok, who conducted Bartok’s farewell concert in 1940 just before Bartok and his wife left and eventually settled in the U.S. during the War. Aside from championing Bartok, he was also very close to Zoltan Kodaly and did a lot to promote the work of Kodaly and many contemporary composers in and around Budapest. His death in 1984 after a long illness was a great shock to the music world, but his many recordings are vivid testimony to the authority and the passion he had for Contemporary Hungarian music.
Zoltan Kocsis was an artist whose interpretations of fellow Hungarian composers won high praise with critics, but his performance of works by Debussy also won him not only high praise, but his recordings won many awards. Turning to conducting, he co-founded the Budapest Festival Orchestra with Ivan Fischer in 1983. Sadly, his career came to an end, presumably via heart disease in 2016 at 64.
This concert was one of many pairings between Ferencsik and Kocsis – and the new Radio France orchestra rises admirably to the occasion.
Anti-Road Rage Wednesday. Sit back and relax.