Concerto for Orchestra

Sergei Koussevitzky commissioned Bartók to compose his Concerto for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Bartók contributed a small programme note for the Boston premiere: „The general mood of the world – excepting the second movement – represents a gradual transition from the seriousness of the first movement and the funeral dirge of the third to the affirmative closing movement. The title of this symphonic style work is explained by the concerto or soloistic treatment of individual instruments or groups. Examples of virtuosic handling of instruments occur in the fugato sections of the first movement development (brass instruments), or the perpetuum mobile passages of the finale’s principal theme (strings), and particularly in the second movement where instruments appear successively in pairs with brilliant passages.” László Somfai wrote the following: „Musicians and listeners alike sense the radiance of a true masterpiece: profound inner feelings and transfigured movements in the slow introduction of the first movement and the Elegy; wit and unique sarcasm in the second and fourth movements; the „all men will be brothers” circle dance in the finale, ornamented with grand contrapuntal passages and a true Beethovenian closing gesture.”