Louise Fryer presents music from European emigres to America. BBC NOW in Bartok: Concerto for orchestra. BBC Philharmonic in Martinu: Fantaisies symphoniques (Symphony No 6).
The third of three weeks of Afternoon on 3 celebrating different sides of the music of America. This week's programmes centre on music written in exile, by the great number of twentieth-century European composers who fled persecution by moving to the USA. Louise Fryer introduces some of their music written far from home, explores their personal circumstances, and discusses how it affected the artistic process. Some found the move easier than others....
Bartok wrote his Concerto for Orchestra to a commission from the conductor Serge Koussevitzky, having initially found it hard to compose after his move to the US. The Boston Symphony Orchestra premiered the work under Koussevitzky's baton in 1944 to critical acclaim, and it quickly became Bartok's most popular work. Sadly he didn't live long enough to see its full impact.
Martinu fled Paris early in WW2 after the Nazis blacklisted his music. Life in America was difficult for him: lack of knowledge of English, lack of funds, and lack of opportunities caused frustration. Eventually he acclimatised and his six symphonies were written at a phenomenal rate in little more than a decade.
Bartok: Concerto for orchestra, Sz 116
BBC National Orchestra of Wales,
Thierry Fischer (conductor).
Martinu: Fantaisies symphoniques (Symphony No 6)
Gunter Herbig (conductor).
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