Bartók: Violin Concertos

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Composer: Béla Bartók
Artists: Thomas Zehetmair (violin) , Budapest Festival Orchestra, Ivan Fischer (conductor)

About this Album:
The composition dates of the two violin concertos by Hungarian composer, pianist and ethnomusicologist Béla Bartók are separated by thirty years and provide a snapshot of his creative process at vastly different points in his life.

The first concerto (1907–8) had a rare emotional relevance: it was dedicated to the violinist Stefi Geyer, the object of Bartók’s affections, and showcases different aspects of her personality. This two-movement work is reminiscent of the works of Strauss and Liszt. The lamenting theme of the first movement represents Bartók’s unrequited love for Stefi, whose theme is repeated with tonal variation. This is followed by a lively second movement, with brilliant sections of arpeggios and scales, as well as whimsical leaps.

The second concerto (1937) is from a time in the composer’s life when folk music had become a firm characteristic of his works, and explores more adventurous harmonies than the first. One of the great Classical and Romantic works, the neo-Classical concerto also contains elements of Baroque and Renaissance music, giving it an historical dimension. Highlights are the beautiful canon of the second-movement theme and the reappearance in the third movement of the theme from the first, this time in a rousing triple-time dance.

Internationally acclaimed violinist Thomas Zehetmair has enjoyed a remarkable career, performing and recording all over the world. He has also become equally sought-after as a conductor and is currently Musical Director of the Northern Sinfonia.

00:00:00 Violin Concerto No. 1, BB 48a: I. Andante sostenuto
00:09:23 Violin Concerto No. 1, BB 48a: II. Allegro giocoso
00:21:34 Violin Concerto No. 2, BB 117: I. Allegro non troppo
00:36:35 Violin Concerto No. 2, BB 117: II. Andante tranquillo
00:45:56 Violin Concerto No. 2, BB 117: III. Allegro molto

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