Tuesday 20 February 2018

UK premiere of the first version of Bartók's second violin rhapsody

Barnabás Kelemen
Barnabás Kelemen
Béla Bartók wrote two Rhapsodies for violin and piano, virtuoso works which he completed in 1928 and wrote without commission. The first was dedicated to the violinist Joseph Szigeti and the second to Zoltán Székely who premiered the work. In 1929 Bartók orchestrated the second rhapsody, and would later return to the work and revise it, producing a revised orchestral version in 1935 and a revised version with piano in 1945. Hungarian violinist Barnabás Kelemen is giving the UK première of Bartók’s Rhapsody No 2 for Violin and Orchestra with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, conductor Thomas Dausgaard in Glasgow City Halls on 22 February 2018, in an afternoon concert which also includes more Hungarian music, Zoltán Kodály's Summer Evening, Bartók's ballet The Miraculous Mandarin and Violin Concerto No. 1.

Bartók's Violin Concerto No. 1 was written for the violinist Stefi Geyer, with whom the composer was in love; Geyer did not reciprocate Bartók's feelings and did not play the concerto, which was not played until after Bartók's death. The sexually charged ballet, The Miraculous Mandarin was written between 1918 and 1924, based on a short-story by the Hungarian Jewish writer Melchior Lengyel. Though the ballet was premiered in Cologne in 1926, though its sexual content caused problems and something of a scandal.

Full details from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra's website.

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