BARTÓK: Two Pictures, BB 59
VERESS: Hommage à Paul Klee
BARTÓK: Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, BB 62
Performed by: Szilvia Vörös soprano, Gábor Bretz bass baritone, Dénes Várjon, Izabella Simon piano
Conductor: András Keller
Sandwiched between two representative works of the art of Béla Bartók is a remarkable concerto by a Hungarian genius of composition from the last century who although of international repute is still infrequently heard in the land of his birth. The programme includes the work of Sándor Veress (who emigrated to Switzerland in 1950 and lived the second half of his life there) composed for two pianos and chamber orchestra, consisting of seven short movements, following on from Bartók’s Two Pictures, that is, In Full Flower and Village Dance. Hommage à PaulKlee (1951) links musical commentaries to seven pictures by the great Swiss painter, with the piano playing of artist couple Simon–Várjon who know the work inside out. The number seven also plays a key part in Béla Bartók’s sole opera, which can be attested to in the second half of this concert. The one-act work was completed in 1911, a year after Two Pictures: under the baton of András Keller and with performances by two globetrotting Hungarian opera singers, Gábor Bretz and Szilvia Vörös, the seven keys and seven doors come alive in a concertante setting.