Szekely and Bartok: The Story of a Friendship

Szekely and Bartok: The Story of a Friendship

Szekely and Bartok: The Story of a Friendship

Szekely and Bartok: The Story of a Friendship

Synopsis

"Szekely's story - his childhood in rural Hungary, his rise to fame as a concert violinist, his involvement in the new music movement in prewar Europe, and his work with the Hungarian String Quartet - unfolds through the violinist's own recollections and those of his wife, Mientje, and other longtime colleagues. Bartok's profound influence on Szekely's life and work reveals itself through Szekely's voice and in correspondence. Szekely and Bartok: The Story of a Friendship provides an intimate view of concert life in mid-twentieth-century Europe among such artists as Ravel, Dohnanyi, Hindemith, Milhaud, Honegger, Castlenuovo-Tedesco, Kodaly, and others. The book contains previously unpublished Bartok letters, Szekely's firsthand accounts of Bartok's interpretive preferences, comprehensive listings of Szekely's compositions and first performances, and the complete story of the Hungarian String Quartet from its founding in Budapest in 1935 to the final concert at Dartmouth College in 1972. From 1973 to 1993, Szekely's role as violinist-in-residence at the Banff Centre in Canada was the culmination of a long and distinguished career, and helped establish the institution as a world center for chamber music study. Written from personal recollections and original documents and research, this book is destined to occupy a prominent position in the chamber music literature." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

For almost four decades, Zoltán Székely and the Hungarian String Quartet provided music lovers the world over with performances of the greatest works in the classical canon -- the quartets of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Brahms. This magnificent repertoire was further enriched by premieres or early performances of string quartets by Paul Hindemith, Igor Stravinsky, Darius Milhaud, Arthur Honegger, William Schuman, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Aaron Copland, Walter Piston, and Elizabeth Maconchy. But the jewel in the crown of Zoltán Székely and the Hungarian String Quartet was the monumental cycle of six quartets by Székely's lifelong friend, compatriot, and musical collaborator, Béla Bartók.

In addition to the quartets, Székely was intimately involved with Bartók's two Rhapsodies for Violin and Orchestra, the second of which was dedicated to him and which he played in its world premiere with the Budapest Philharmonic under the direction of Ernst von Dohnányi. Székely also played the first performance of the Second Rhapsody outside Hungary -- with the Amsterdam Concertgebouw led by Pierre Monteux. In 1939, he played the world premiere of Bartók Violin Concerto with the Concertgebouw conducted by Willem Mengelberg. To my dear friend Zoltán Székely,Bartók wrote on the front of the score.

In Székely, Bartók did indeed find a sympathetic and responsive interpreter of his music. Bartók was greatly interested in the rich and . . .

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