Skip to content
Siete qui: Home Festival Festival 2009 Important melodies in Bartók and variegated atmospheres in Dvořák
Important melodies in Bartók and variegated atmospheres in Dvořák PDF Print E-mail

by Carlo Bellora

Music for violinists with great temperament has been written by Bartók (Nagyszentmiklos, Transilvania, 1881 – New York, 1945). Starting from Rhapsody no. 1 for violin and orchestra composed in 1928, in the beginning written only for violin and piano, then composed in the version for violin and orchestra. Dedicated to the virtuoso Joseph Szigeti, the Rhapsody no. 1 has its stylistic roots in the stylistic climate of Hungarian folk tradition and especially in the form of the Czarda, with its typical alternation between an initial slow part and a second quick one, in an accelerando. Also the Concert for violin and orchestra no. 1 has been written for a violinist, the young talent Stefi Geyer – a student of the great violinist Jeno Hubay. The score has been composed between 1907 and 1908 – period in which the composer fell in love with the beautiful musician. Furthermore, this score remained unknown up to 1958 – Bartók was already dead at that time – when the violinist gave the manuscript of Concert no. 1 to the Swiss conductor Paul Sacher, who performed it in worldwide première on May 30 of the same year in Basel.

Concert divided in two movements – even though Bartók would have wanted a third one – it begins with a melancholy melody played very softly by the soloist, followed gradually by the strings. This movement is mainly lyric, and its organic grows until it reaches its dynamic climax, that develops during the central parts, and closes during the final parts with the emotionally stirring timbric colors played by the winds. During the last moments, it proposes again the soloist and its arabesques, before a stroke performed by the percussion instruments that introduces the return to the padded atmospheres of the beginning of the movement.

The second movement is an Allegro giocoso that the soloist introduces in the sovracute register of the fourth string, as if it wanted to flaunt clearly a virtuoso gesture. It is followed by further accelerations of the soloist, until the moment in which the musical material stretches and returns to the lyric pathos of the first movement, with the splendid colors of the orchestra’s sound, an evident hommage to Richard Strauss. In the end comes the prancing finale, introduced by a small group of winds that announce the Tempo primo with a slightly proud tone, followed by the soloist violin that emotionally stirs and awakes with the all the impertinent beauty of melodies by Bartók.

Dvorák (Nelahozeves, Kralupy, 1841 – Prague, 1904) was already a popular composer when he wrote, between 1884 and 1885 the Symphony no. 7. The score begins with an Allegro maestoso and with the small voice of violas and cellos standing out on the obscure sound of timpani that soon vanishes leaving its place to a theme in the taste of Brahms. The second movement, Poco adagio, is pervaded by the vitality of winds, playing together to create a domestic chorale or isolated during brief soloist moments, just a little bit veiled by Romantic melancholy. The Scherzo, third movement, is the page that most conquers at first for the vivacity of the dancing cadenzas, almost if it were an enlarged Waltz. The finale resumes the spirit of the first movement and it brings it to its climax listing a series of thematic ideas, presented and developed with the great coherence of the composer, dominator of his own expression means. Dvorák enjoys citing – here and there – the heroic character of Smetana’s music and the smooth atmospheres by Mendelssohn, and then finds himself back again in his majestic ending.