Monday, September 21, 2009

National Symphony Orchestra To Open Fall Season (Non-Gala) With Three Performances Of Bela Bartok's Rare Hungarian Folktale, The Wooden Prince

... "The ballet represents a side of Bartók that is often overshadowed by his more angularly dissonant and more fiercely rhythmical scores. The idiom of The Wooden Prince is gentler and more Romantic, inspired by Bartók's lifelong love of nature. Of course, the influence of folk music is never far from the surface. The story itself bears the imprint of Hungarian folktales. Appropriately, the Prince's music uses the pentatonic scale Bartók had discovered in the oldest Hungarian folksongs; this style contrasts with the verbunkos tone characterizing the haughty Princess -- this 19th-century, semi-popular Hungarian repertoire carried negative associations for Bartók in the 1910s. True, the opening of the ballet was modelled after the Prelude to Wagner's Rheingold, and the orchestration is often reminiscent of Debussy. Still, Bartók's originality is evident at every turn, and the final apotheosis of nature is entirely expressive of his personal artistic philosophy." ...

Bela Bartok's The Wooden Prince © Peter Laki

The National Symphony Orchestra Principal Conductor Iván Fischer conducts Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony No. 6 and Bartók's The Wooden Prince on October 1, 2, and 3, 2009.


Woodwinds: 4 flutes (third doubling on piccolo 2, fourth on piccolo 1), 4 oboes (third on English horn 2, fourth on English horn 1), 4 clarinets (third doubling on sopranino clarinet, fourth on bass clarinet), 4 bassoons (third and fourth doubling on contrabassoons),Alto saxophone in E flat, tenor saxophone in B flat (doubling on baritone saxophone in E flat)

Brass: 4 horns, 6 trumpets (4 trumpets and 2 cornets, all in B flat), 3 trombones, tuba

Percussion (timpanist and 5 players): timpani, bass drum, cymbals, snare drum, field drum, triangle, tam-tam, glockenspiel, xylophone, castanets
2 harps, celesta for 4 hands

Strings: 16 first and 16 second violins, 12 violas, 10 cellos, 8 double basses


Bartók used a scenario by the poet Béla Balázs, who was a roommate of Zoltán Kodály.

Photo credit: Oravsky Castle, Slovakia, Present-Day European Union, where F.W. Murnau filmed "Nosferatu", was built in 1267 CE. (c) 2006 2007 2008 On Topic Media PTY LTD. All Rights Reserved.


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