Part of SU1 Sunday 1
About This Performance
Stravinsky packed a lot into his short one-movement work (1920) for woodwinds and brass, with different sections using three different but related tempos. Built from Russian folk sources, Symphonies ends with a Chorale composed as a memorial to Claude Debussy.
Ill with leukemia and an exile in New York City, Bartók knew he would never play his Third Piano Concerto, his last completed work. Indeed, he was writing its more lyrical solo part as a birthday gift for his wife Ditta. Filled with the sounds of Hungarian folk music, the entire work exudes more directness and clarity than his previous two concertos. The middle movement seems inspired by the transcendent slow movement of Beethoven’s Op. 132 string quartet, a prayer of thanks for the recovery of an ill person. In the middle of this movement, Bartók writes his trademark “night music” for the last time. The finale bustles with optimistic energy and includes a Bach-like two-part invention, triumphantly ending with cascades of double octaves.
Dudamel concludes this program with Janáček’s Sinfonietta, which begins and ends with especially striking fanfares requiring numerous additional brass instruments. An arrangement of this opening was used by the progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer for the song “Knife-Edge” on its 1970 debut album.
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