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January 13, 2006 at 8pm at the Schuster Center, Neal Gittleman and the DPO trace the musical route of Hungarian composer

Bartók had a personal mission to search out the roots of his country’s melodic language. For this program, you will taste a range of music flavored with the sounds of Hungary and Romania. You’ll travel with the DPO and follow Béla Bartók’s musical path from the byways of middle Europe and his Roumanian Folk Dances. Then, it’s on to the streets of New York, to get an in-depth view into the inner workings of Bartók’s signature work, the Concerto for Orchestra, which dramatically highlights a wide range of instrumentalists and orchestral colors.

Bartók is one of the most original, yet least revolutionary, of twentieth-century composers. His music reflects, above all, the folk music traditions of his native Hungary and the Balkans. He and his compatriot, Zoltan Kodaly, recorded and transcribed voluminous amounts of his material: Bartók’s musical curiosity took him as far afield as Africa and the near East to study folk music. Bartók’s compositions reflect the basic simplicity of folk music in one way or another, no matter how complex their actual construction might be.

Yet he was neither successful nor prosperous during his lifetime. In 1940, he moved to America and there found a haven from the devastation of war in Europe. Until his death in New York in 1945, he spent his last years in difficult financial circumstances. Even when he became ill, and his circumstances became even more distressing, he was reluctant to accept Koussevitzky’s modest commission for fear that he could not complete the work. Koussevitzky was patient and persistent, however, and Bartók finished the Concerto for Orchestra.

Bartók wrote that, “…the performance was excellent. Koussevitzky is very enthusiastic about the piece, and says it is ‘the best orchestral piece of the last 25 years’….”

Music Director Neal Gittleman oversees this unique opportunity to go behind the music and discover the enjoyment contained within. The DPO is one of the few orchestras in the nation to offer this experience. Each subscriber to the Dayton Daily News Classical Connections series receives a special Listener’s Guide. Single-ticket buyers can purchase Listener’s Guides from the DPO’s Retail Kiosk on the Orchestra Level Lobby. Following the Roumanian Folk Dances, Neal Gittleman will escort listeners (who are welcome to wear casual dress!) through the evening’s music with stories, excerpts, and insights into Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra. After intermission, the DPO will perform the complete Concerto for Orchestra.