World premiere of version
Paul Neubauer, viola / Beethovenhalle Orchestra / Dennis Russell Davies
On his death-bed Bartók left a draft of what appears to be almost all of the solo viola part, but debate still persists on whether he really intended a four or a three-movement work. The orchestration of the first version prepared for performance is largely Serly’s although Bartók left fairly frequent short-hand prompts to what he had in mind. The revised edition, by Peter Bartók and Nelson Dellamaggiore, has restored many original Bartók features, but has not fundamentally challenged the orchestration. Along with the Walton Viola Concerto, it is among the most popular viola works of all time. An adaptation for cello is also available.
Note by Malcolm Gillies