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My arrangement of Béla Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra is the second of the three I have done for Peter Keuschnig’s Kontrapunkte Cycle 2017/2018 in the Musikverein.
Along with the Miraculous Mandarin, it is probably Bartók’s most important orchestral piece and the most extensive work of the composer’s late period – one which has fascinated and excited me since boyhood.
My goal was to prepare a version for large ensemble (also playable by small orchestras with multiple strings to a part) which, despite the reduced forces, is in no way inferior to the original – that is, not a reduction expediently pared down to a restricted ensemble, but rather a variant retaining the luminescent tone colours and the unbridled power of the original – quasi a new raiment for the original, without sacrifices.
So I chose this instrumentation: 2 flutes, oboe, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, bassoon, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, harp, piano and solo (or multiple) strings.