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72. Béla Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra, annotated by Sir Georg Solti

Slavish imitation
Page 28

Béla Bartók
Georg Solti

London, England; New York, NY, 1946 (ca.)

The Sir Georg Solti Archive in the Loeb Music Library includes hundreds of musical scores annotated by Solti, one of the 20th century’s most renowned conductors of opera and symphony. Heavily marked for performances and recordings, these scores show how Solti’s thinking progressed, how he solved musical problems, and how he adapted performances to suit a particular context. In preparing Bela Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra for recording with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1981, Solti was determined to follow the composer’s metronome marks “slavishly.” In the second movement, Guioco delle coppie, Solti found Bartók’s metronome marking of 74 to the quarter note “very sluggish.” Gordon Peters, the CSO’s principal percussionist, indicated to Solti that 94 was written in his part. “I checked with the Library of Congress, which owns the original manuscript, and 94 was confirmed as correct; 74 was a printer’s error that has been published and republished for over fifty years. Ninety-four is somewhat faster than the movement is usually performed, but it is a natural, fluent tempo – and that is how I did it.”

Musical notation.
. Mus 627.22.230.7 Solti .
HOLLIS Catalog: 012755478
Béla Bartók, Georg Solti, musical notation



Submitted by Paul Bain (not verified) on

Solti may have been aware of Bartok's acute sense of time. Bartok, I understand, could tell the tempo of a piece of music to within a beat or two, and was very particular in his own compositions while working with performers.

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