The programme for this concert addresses the relationship between Bartók and the female gender, featuring two works that immortalise great feelings from his own life in musical notes and a third dealing with the problem of the male-female relationship in general, as the composer saw it, in a mythical story elevated to the level of a mystery play.
Two Portraits, the piece opening this concert by the Hungarian National Philharmonic, was inspired by the young Bartók's unrequited love for the violinist Stefi Geyer. The first portrait, the Ideal, showing the idealised face of the beloved female figure, is identical to the opening movement of the Violin Concerto No. 1, while the passionate second movement, Grotesque, was originally composed as the orchestral version of the closing Valse (Ma mie qui danse) movement of the series 14 Bagate...lles.
Bartók's unfinished swan song, composed when he was terminally ill, the Piano Concerto No. 3 was written for his wife, Ditta Pásztory, and, as a graceful successor to the Classical 'ladies' concertos, has a tamer sound than the composer's familiar hard tone. Dezső Ránki has been performing this piece in an authentic style since the start of his career.
This mystery play opera set to a libretto by Béla Balázs dissects concepts of solitude, secrets, gaining familiarity with another person, the urge to possess, jealousy and loneliness in a magical mix of styles that, following the psychoanalysing artistic vogue of the early 20th century, incorporates elements of Romanticism, folk traditions, art nouveau and symbolism. Ildikó Komlósi and András Palerdi are both seasoned and successful performers of their respective roles.
Presented by: Hungarian National Philharmonic
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Refreshments – Without the Queue
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