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Music

DSO perform Bartok's last completed work

Bartók offers a concerto with a twist in this piece that highlights the various sections of the orchestra and lets them show off.

Close-up of cellos being played

The concerto is among the composer's most popular works

Béla Bartók (1881-1945)

Concerto for Orchestra

Deutsches Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin

Conductor: Ingo Metzmacher

A concerto written for orchestra may sound ironic, but for Béla Bartók, that was perhaps exactly the point. In "Concerto for Orchestra," composed in 1943, Bartók re-thinks the sonic possibilities of the orchestra altogether.

While a traditional concerto features a single solo instrument juxtaposed against the orchestra, this concerto invites different orchestral sections to alternate as soloists and take turns demonstrating what they do best.

Throughout the piece, Bartók refers to traditional melodies from his native Hungary. The oboe melody in the first movement, "Introduzione," is one example. Bartók toys with different sonic effects of different woodwind pairs in the second movement, entitled "Game of Pairs ." The third movement, "Elegia," is the centerpiece of the work, drawing on themes from the first. Folk melodies return in the fourth movement, "Intermezzo interrotto." And a true departure from the brooding mood of the earlier movements comes in the dance-like final movement, "Finale."

Author: Elaine Yeung
Editor: Greg Wiser

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