The Hungarian composer reworked the Piano Concerto in E-flat major a total of five times between 1836 and 1856 before the piece gained its final form. In the words of Bartók, it was “the first perfect realisation of cyclic sonata form, with common themes being treated on the variation principle.” The main reasons for the work’s exceptional popularity are the brilliant piano part, the dense format, and the sparkling instrumentation brimming with chamber music influences. The soloist for the evening, Ádám Balogh, took second place at the 2019 Bartók World Competition.
Karl Goldmark’s five-movement first symphony, Rustic Wedding, was conceived in the spirit of a programmatic symphony along the lines of those of Berlioz and Liszt, and as a symphonic poem. Completed in 1875, the work was premièred in Vienna by Hans Richter. Brahms had words of praise for the piece: “That is the best thing you have done so far; clear-cut and faultless, it sprang into being a finished thing, like Minerva from the head of Jupiter.”