Reaction to the First Fifty Years of the Bart'ok/Serly Viola Concerto
This chapter presents a survey of the critical writings of the Bartók/Serly Viola Concerto by concert reviewers and music scholars, and includes reviews of the first performances in both the United States and Great Britain. The New York Times review by Olin Downes was enthusiastic in regard to the performance though reserved with regard to the authenticity of Serly's reconstruction. While the British reviews were generally favorable, with the passage of time and the opportunity to study Serly's score in advance, the later reviews were better informed and tended to be less enthusiastic about the work of Serly. The scholarly writings, from Halsey Stevens in The Life and Music of Bartók (1953) and from Sándor Kovács in Bartók Remembered (edited by Malcolm Gillies (1994)), are the most significant and provide the best informed comment from their respective times. The chapter also discusses reviews of the many recordings made in the latter half of the 20th century.
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