Pierre Boulez conducts Bartók — With Gidon Kremer and Yuri Bashmet

Berliner Philharmoniker

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Gidon Kremer — Violinist

Yuri Bashmet — Violist

Berliner Philharmoniker

Pierre Boulez

Program notes

An all Bartók programme featuring one of the leading violinists – Gidon Kremer – and one of the world's leading viola players – Yuri Bashmet. Accompanied by the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Pierre Boulez.

Béla Bartók's Dance Suite is an orchestral work composed in 1923 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the union between Buda, Pest and Óbuda. At that time, three composers were commissioned new scores: Béla Bartók composed his Dance Suite, Erno Dohnányi composed the Festival Overture and Zoltán Kodály composed his Psalmus Hungaricus. Rejecting any kind of nationalism, Bartók draws freely his inspiration from Romanian, Arabian and Hungarian folk music for his piece.

Dedicated to the violinist Stefi Geye, the Violin and Orchestra Concerto No. 1 is one of the two concertos composed by Béla Bartók. The concerto avoids the traditional concerto's division in three movements and opts for a two-part division, the former being slow, the latter fast. Though the Violin Concerto No. 1 was composed in 1907, it was only published in 1959 thanks to Paul Sacher.

During July and August 1945, Bartók composed his Viola Concerto when he was in terminal leukemia. This concerto, unfinished at the composer's death, is the last work composed by Bartók. His pupil Tibor Serly completed the score in 1949. The Viola Concerto was premiered in 1950 by the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Antal Doráti, and the viola player William Primrose.

To conclude this concert dedicated to Béla Bartók, Pierre Boulez conducts the Berlin Philharmonic to perform The Miraculous Mandarin, a work composed in 1918-1919. By the time it was premiered, the score caused a scandal due to the eroticism of its argument.

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