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How Liszt Begat Bartók

Charles T. Downey, The Budapest Festival Orchestra at the Library of Congress
(The Washingtonian, October 27):

In celebration of the 200th birthday of Franz Liszt, Hungary’s most celebrated composer, the Library of Congress is hosting a festival of concerts devoted to music by him and those he influenced. On Tuesday night, the series continued with a program featuring the works of Béla Bartók, another celebrated son of Hungary. The musicians performing Bartók’s chamber music this evening had special significance, too, as they are all members of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, whose North American tour was presented by the Washington Performing Arts Society at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall last night.

Violinists János Pilz and Mária Gál-Tamási opened the program with a dozen or so of the duos, BB 104, pieces that were intended on one level for young violinists but that are also endlessly diverting miniatures, especially when played so well by musicians who have been educated in the folk-music-steeped system that Bartók helped put in place. Pilz and Gál-Tamási gave vigor and a bright tone to these pieces, some fresh, others melancholy, and most of them just the sort of sheer fun that is irresistible to young performers. In each piece, Bartók creates a tiny world with boundless melodic fecundity and rhythmic complexity. [Continue reading]
Robert Battey, Bartok at Library of Congress festival a welcome, if incongruous, inclusion (Washington Post, October 27)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

all three volumes of Liszt's Années de pèlerinage is two and two-thirds hours of music, and not four hours of music, as you write.

As for the Library of Congress requesting just two of the three volumes -- about one and two-thirds hours of music (including the encore) -- this seems reasonable to me for a weeknight all-Liszt concert beginning at 8 PM.

It's not as if the Library of Congress only had money to fully stage the first two acts of Wagner's Siegfried.