5 September 2011

Béla Bartók - Violin Concerto No.2

For me Bartók's Second Violin Concerto is one of the most moving and exciting pieces of music ever. Bartók had an incredible knack for writing string pieces that make you want to bawl your eyes out (though also making you smile and bop your head) and this one is no different. It also has wonderful loud moments and the typical (Hungarian-style) rhythms that you so often hear in Bartók.

Béla Bartók - Violin Concerto No.2: Mvt 1 Allegro non troppo.
Played by György Pauk, the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, cond. Antoni Wit.

The Violin Concerto No.2 was written in 1937-38 for Zoltán Székely and was premiered in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam (there's a recording of it available here. Apparently Székely had quite a lot of influence on the writing of the score, he insisted that it consist of three movement and not just be variations on a theme (which is what Bartók originally wanted) and he made suggestions about adding/changing some notes. Bartók had originally written the ending as purely orchestral, but Székely disagreed and wanting a part for the violin as well. Both versions are available and still played, the one I'm posting here is with the violin-ending. The other two movements I haven't posted above can be heard on youtube: II Andante tranquillo and III Allegro molto.

Other YPGTCM posts on Béla Bartók: The Miraculous Mandarin.

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