Compte-rendu, Béla BARTOK, Musique pour cordes, percussion et célesta, BOSTON Symphony Orchestra, Ernest ANSERMET, 1956

7 janvier 1956
Cyrus Durgin resp. The Boston Globe
René Gagnaux

Après le concert radiodiffusé du 6 janvier 1956 est paru le compte-rendu suivant dans le quotidien The Boston Globe du samedi 7 janvier 1956, en page 20, chronique de Cyrus Durgin:

"[...] Boston Symphony Orchestra - Bartok and Stravinsky played

by Cyrus Durgin

The Boston Symphony Orchestra yesterday afternoon gave the first concert of the 11th pair in the Friday-Saturday series, at Symphony Hall. Ernest Ansermet, as guest, conducted the following programm: Bartok, Music for Strings, Pervussion and Celesta; Stravinsky, Symphonies for Wind instruments (first time at these concerts); Franck, Symphony in D minor.

Just how many friends were made and people influenced by guest conductor Ernest Ansermet yesterday afternoon is a question to remain forever moot. It is not likely that those who were enthralled by Bartok and Stravinsky were even interested by Cesar Franck, and vice versa. I kept thinking of Abraham Lincoln's re mark, in paraphrase: "You cannot please all the people all the time."

All the same, Mr. Ansermet did some commendable missionary work in giving us Bartok and Stravinsky. Symphonies for Wind Instruments, now nearly 36 years old and sounding very tired for that age, was new to the Boston Symphony repertory, and, indeed, I can find no records in the office which show a previous Boston performance.

This is a thick slice of heavy and monotonous wind sonorities, with no "lift" not much sense of motion, no communication save the purely technical one of a study in some effects of balance and instrumental colors. When Eric Walter White (quoted by Mr. Burk in the program notes) says that "the final impression is one of sombre brazen mathematical splendor," he has uttered about the last 10 words on the Symphonies for Wind Instruments.

Nonetheless, it is good to hear such a piece, especially from a man who is one of the top-ranking composers of the first half of this century. I'd like to hear it again - without however, expecting too much. With a few notable exceptions along the way, most of the Stravinsky I have heard following that masterpiece, "The Rite of Spring," has seemed bleakly dry, laboratory experiments in patterns of notes and rhythms. Let us all try, try again, nonetheless, and perhaps the door will be opened for us.

Bartok Fascinating

Bartok's Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, on the other hand, is endlessly fascinating. Fascinating in its ingenuity, its variety of writing, its unfailing liveliness and play of tonal colors. There is something out of Mother Earth in Bartok, something with all the healthy activity of earth's flora, where Stravinsky is as antiseptic as a surgical pavilion. Bartok's musical intellect was prodigious but it never severed the bonds which happily connected Bartok with the earth, which is to say folk music. In Bartok's piece, as in all his other music which I have come to know, there are both intellect and passion. It is all very human.

Mr. Ansermet must have worked hard to obtain clean, clear performances of the modern scores. Bartok certainly went well, and Stravinsky was as well treated. So with the Franck Symphony, which sounded with a Gallic brilliance and yet a rich, full-bodied tone. By the time of the counter pointed summary in the finale, the music was a growing but transparent tissue of beauty. Yet, to enter an Old Curmudgeon's caveat, now that we have heard again this music of seraphs-and-incense, let us put it away for an other five years.

Next week the orchestra will be out of town. Charles Munch will return, Jan. 20 and 21, to conduct Beethoven's "Leonore" Overture No. 2; Debussy's "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun", Howard Hanson's "Elegy in Memory of Serge Koussevitsky (composed for the Boston Symphony's 75 Anniversary, first performance) and the D minor and Piano Concerto of Brahms, with Rudolph Serkin as soloist. [...]"

Voir ce fichier audio (https://www.notrehistoire.ch/medias/114503) pour l' enregistrement de l' oeuvre de Bela Bartok.

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René Gagnaux
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