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Bartók's Viola ConcertoThe Remarkable Story of His Swansong$
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Donald Maurice

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195156904

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195156904.001.0001

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Première and Publication

Première and Publication

An Account of the Events of 1945–49 That Lead up to the First Performance

(p.53) CHAPTER THREE Première and Publication
Bartók's Viola Concerto

Donald Maurice

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides perhaps the most fascinating part of the story, bringing to light a series of circumstances not previously known outside the close circle of family and friends. The cello version of the concerto is discussed and the extended negotiations with Boosey & Hawkes are traced with numerous copies of correspondence included in the appendixes. The most revealing section relates to the involvement of violist Burton Fisch and cellist David Soyer, who gave the first ever read-through of the concerto to an invited audience at the home of Tibor Serly in New York in February 1948. The renditions were recorded shortly after at the apartment of Peter Bartók. The involvement of William Primrose and the subsequent changes that occurred pave the way to much of the controversy in the interpretation of the work.

Keywords:   cello version, Boosey & Hawkes, Burton Fisch, David Soyer, 1948, Tibor Serly, Peter Bartók, William Primrose, controversy, interpretation

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