Violin Concerto No. 2, S2. 112, BB 117

I. Allegro non troppo II. Andante tranquillo – Allegro scherzando – Tempo I. III. Allegro molto


The Violin Concerto was composed in 1937-38. It is dedicated to Zoltán Székely who premiered it in Amsterdam on March 23rd, 1939 under the baton of Willem Mengelberg. The first Hungarian performance took place in the absence of Bartók, in Kolozsvár in 1943. The outer movements structured according to the principles of the classical sonata form are connected by the close kinship of their musical material. The slow movement is in fact a set of variations. The theme is followed by six variations (Un poco piu Andante – Un poco piu tranquillo – Piu mosso – Lento, then two scherzo style variations: Allegro scherzando – Comodo). According to musicologist János Kovács, the Violin Concerto is characterised by "a personal language and an individual world of melodies on which the inspiration of folk music has left its strong mark all the way through. (…) However, another special style – one not contradictory to but different in its tone from folk music – that of the verbunk also makes its influence felt. Bartók was fully conscious of this: a manuscript copy of the solo violin part of the Violin Concerto carries this inscription at the head of the 1st movement: Tempo de Verbunkos, to be later replaced by Bartók with the instruction, Allegro non troppo."

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