Béla Bartók wrote two works for the dance stage: one pantomime (The Miraculous Mandarin) and one dance drama (The Wooden Prince). Choreographers' imaginations, however, have also been stimulated by some of the composer's other works, such as his Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta and Dance Suite. For this occasion, Csaba Horváth - as director, choreographer and one of the dancers - has discovered opportunities for movement theatre in the String Quartet No. 5 and Concerto for Orchestra.
In Bence Szabolcsi's view, Bartók was perhaps never as full of love for humanity and compassion as when he was composing the Concerto for Orchestra. 'He was never able to summarise every outcome in his life into one enormous synthesis as he did then.' Although the five-movement work was written with a dark, troubled and anxious tone, its final ringing notes are a true manifestation of joie de vivre and faith in a better future, making it one of the last of the century's pieces to end on a positive note for quite some time.
'Only a few years after Bartók death, the intellectual world already considered the six string quartets the composer wrote (the first in 1918/09, and the last in 1939) to be an unquestionable part of the 20th century's musical treasure trove. The six pieces can be regarded as a single whole, and when it comes to the appropriate depiction of the format and complexity of the work in the performance, the String Quartet No. 5, which represents the highest-level classicalisation of the Bartók style, arguably takes pride of place,' say the creators of the production.
This performance has been created as a joint production of the Forte Company, the Ördögkatlan (Devil's Cauldron) Pan-Art Festival, CAFé Budapest and the National Dance Theatre.
Sponsored by: National Cultural Fund, Ministry of Human Capacities
Presented by: National Dance Theatre
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