Festival of Hungarian Gems - Closing concert

Bartók: Dance Suite BB 86
Sándor Veress: Concerto for Violin
Bartók: Concerto for Viola BB 128 (the viola part was adapted to cello by Miklós Perényi)
Kodály: Psalmus Hungaricus

Barnabás Kelemen violin, Miklós Perényi cello, Szabolcs Brickner tenor
Hungarian National Choir (choirmaster: Csaba Somos)
Conductor: András Keller

A hundred years ago, on 19th November 1923, the 50th anniversary of the unification of Pest, Buda and Old Buda was celebrated with a monumental, festive concert. This was the occasion when the world-premiere of three pieces took place that had been commissioned by the city council from three outstanding composers of the time: Bartók, Kodály and Dohnányi. According to contemporary reviews, while the audience received Dohnányi’s Festive Overture with modest applause, Bartók’s Dance Suite was met with incomprehension. It was only Kodály’s Psalmus Hungaricus that made the hearts of those in the audience – whose soul had been torn apart by the losses caused by the War, the Soviet Republic and Trianon – throb. Between the two emblematic pieces two unique and rarely heard concerti will be played. The Concerto for Violin by Sándor Veress was composed when the composer lived in Hungary. It was addressed to Sándor Végh, who played the first, two-movement version. This work is also special from the perspective of music history as Bartók was the only Hungarian composer to write a concerto for violin between the wars. Numerous studies and monographs have been written on Bartók’s unfinished piece, the Concerto for Viola, of which only drafts remained, and its different completed versions, including those for viola and cello. Now the audience will hear the world premiere of a cello solo adaptation based on the new reconstruction by Miklós Rakos published in 2016.