BARTÓK: Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, BB 121
LISZT: Dante Symphony
Fülöp Ránki, Mihály Berecz piano, Zoltán Rácz, Boglárka Fábry percussion
Conductor: János Kovács
The 2022/23 season of Hungarian Gems closes down with two grandiose masterpieces in this entertaining concert. The programme is a pick from the oeuvres of the two most globally recognized masters of Hungarian music. Béla Bartók’s Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra (1940) is the offspring of his sonata for two pianos and percussion of three years earlier, and in its rearranged form the three-movement work also gives a lead role to percussionists. In this case, to Boglárka Fábry and Zoltán Rácz, who are partnering the two gifted young pianists, Mihály Berecz and Fülöp Ránki. In the second half of the programme conducted by János Kovács, it is the turn of one of the highpoints of the Liszt symphonic oeuvre, the 1855–56 Dante Symphony, for the performance of which the composer originally visualized projected images and a wind machine. “No! No! Not that! Away with it! No majestic Lord God! Keep the gentle, noble, floating finish!” These words were from the dedicatee of the symphony, Richard Wagner, in trying to convince his friend (and future father-in-law) to rewrite the pompous finale; presumably spurred by these comments, Liszt put forward two kinds of endings for the performers of his three-movement work.