Another historic concert this week. The Boston Symphony, led by Seiji Ozawa with Kyung-Wha Chung, violin play an all-Bartok program. It was recorded for broadcast on June 6, 1975 in Symphony Hall, Boston.
The concert begins with the Violin Concerto Number 2, played by Kyung-Wha Chung and then continues with a first Boston Symphony performance of the Divertimento and finally ending with the Suite from The Miraculous Mandarin.
If you’re just getting your feet wet around Bartok, here is a great place to hear a lot in one sitting. Bartok was one of the most important composers of the 20th century and, compared to Franz Liszt was Hungary’s Greatest composer.
Of course, during his lifetime he wasn’t greeted with particularly open arms. His music was considered too dissonant and hard to follow, but he had several champions of his work, despite difficulties when he migrated to the U.S. from his native Hungary just prior to World War 2. He came to America know more as a teacher, pianist and ethnomusicologist, rather than composer, but at the time of his death in 1945, his popularity and the acceptance of his works in the standard repertoire was becoming more apparent.
Over the years, the music of Bela Bartok has grown substantially in stature – aside from his Music For Strings, Percussion and Celesta and his Concerto For Orchestra, his many works have been frequently played and recorded by a vast number of artists and orchestras throughout the world.
This performance marks a first for the BSO – it’s their first playing of the Divertimento for String Orchestra. Even though it was composed in 1939 and had repeated performances by many ensembles over the years, the Boston Symphony just didn’t get around to it until 1975.
Take a break and give a listen.