BARTÓK Dance Suite, BB 86
DOHNÁNYI Variations on a Nursery Tune, Op. 25
– intermission –
BERLIOZ Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14
Zoltán Fejérvári piano
Conductor András Keller
Concerto Budapest Symphony Orchestra
An episode in the life of an artist – this is what Berlioz subtitled his Symphonie fantastique debuting in 1830, and this could well be the title of this concert: episodes from the lives of three artists. Béla Bartók’s Dance Suite, written for a concert (1923) celebrating the half-century jubilee of the unification of Buda, Pest and Óbuda, initially received a lukewarm and puzzled reception, added to which the overwhelming success of the Kodály composition presented at the same time, Psalmus Hungaricus, overshadowed the Bartók piece. Ernő Dohnányi reaped one of his greatest triumphs, both as composer and pianist, when in Berlin on 17 February 1914, he debuted Variations on a Nursery Tune, still his most popular work. The work revolves around a French tune, the English equivalent of which is Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. The perfect blending of musical humour and virtuosity can be enjoyed with solo by Zoltán Fejérvári, winner of the 2017 Montreal International Piano Competition. “There is a whole Beethoven in this Frenchman, though he is crazy and should be restrained. I liked everything very much,” wrote German Romantic Ludwig Börne of Berlioz after attending the Paris premiere of Symphonie fantastique, and perhaps even the composer himself would have agreed with this assessment.