Kocsis season ticket 1
Portraits of women in musical notes – this could be a fitting title for this concert. The first is an ideal image of a woman’s face, as Bartók saw Stefi Geyer, a young girl studying violin with Jenő Hubay. He wrote a concerto with a beautiful opening melody for her. After corresponding for a bit, however, they split up. The composer of the concerto renounced the work and only used the first movement as part of Two Portraits, with the subtitle One Ideal, appending to it another with the title One Grotesque, a sarcastic version of the lovely basic theme. The Piano Concerto No. 3 also begins with a female portrait. A royal princess appears in a fabulous forest. The orchestra recalls Wagner’s “forest murmurs” from Siegfried (the key – E major – is also identical), with the piano theme perhaps reminding us of the verbunkos-flavoured melody of the female figure in The Wooden Prince. The gravely-ill composer wrote the work for Ditta Pásztory, his second wife. The interval will be followed by Bluebeard’s Castle, a work that Bartók composed during his first marriage. It is a parable of the mysterious Man, whose secret the Woman wishes to learn at any cost. The Man is none other than the composer himself. Or would this be too banal an explanation? There is a legend that someone once annoyed Bartók with a conjecture along these lines. “And what if I am Judith?” – he retorted in irritation. But that may just be a story.