Violin Concerto No. 1, Sz. 36, BB 48a, 2nd movement
As is often the case with this master, the class is intense, and finds Pauk intervening many times, playing along with the student, exemplifying with his instrument, and addressing a lot of substantial issues in playing this very challenging concerto by the Hungarian composer.
In this way, they work on accents, bows, rhythmic issues, intonation, and on the general character of this Concerto.
A certain ferocity is necessary to perform this concerto.
Importance of accents
The bow plays a critical role in finding the right character
This Concerto was written in the years 1907-1908, but was only published in 1956, 11 years after the composer's death, as "Violin Concerto No. 1, op. posth". It was premiered on May 30, 1958 in Basel, Switzerland. This work was dedicated by Bartok to his first love, the young violinist Stefi Geyer as if in a narcotic dream": he inscribed the words "My Confession" on the front page of the manuscript. The first four notes from the solo violin (a real ʻearwormʼ) was described by the composer himself as the "Stefi motif".
Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this violin masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to György Pauk’s feedback and comments.
First Prize in 1956 at the Niccolò Paganini International Violin Competition in Genoa, Italy.
Recognized as one of the leading violinists of his generation, György Pauk was born in Budapest, Hungary, and received his musical education at the renown Franz Liszt Music Academy. Before settling in London in 1961, he already won First Prize at the Paganini Competition in Genova, The Premier Grand Prix at the Jacques Thibaud Competition in Paris, First Prize at the Munich Sonata Competition, and had performed numerous concerts all over Eastern Europe.
He made his London debut in the Wigmore Hall in 1962, receiving outstanding reviews in the press, followed by his orchestral debut in the Royal Festival Hall, with the London Symphony Orchestra under Lorin Maazel. He made his US debut with the Chicago Symphony at the invitation of Sir George Solti. Likewise, he has performed in all five continents, giving an average of 90 concerts a year alongside many major orchestras, collaborating with conductors like Haitink, Dorati, Barbirolli, Solti, Kondrashin, Boulez, Rattle, Dutoit, Rozdestvensky, Dohnanyi, Colin Davis, and more. What's more, he has appeared, among others, at the Edinburgh, Luzern, Cheltenham, Bath, Hollywood Bowl, Ravinia, Santa Fe, Aspen, Dubrovnik, and Prague Spring Festivals.
He was a regular soloist at the Henry Wood Promenade Seasons at the Albert Hall and made innumerable broadcasts for the BBC. His exceptional rich repertoire, also for chamber music, includes several masterpieces of the 20th Century. He retired from the podium after five decades, playing his last farewell concert with the Budapest Festival Orchestra under their conductor Ivan Fischer in Budapest in 2008.
György Pauk is now professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he conducts a “Performers Class” with selected young talents from all over the world. He has led masterclasses in the US at the following institutions: Curtis, Peabody, Yale, Cleveland, Oberlin, Manhattan School, San Francisco, and Juilliard School, as well as in schools all over China, Japan, Israel and across Europe. He is often invited to juries of many major international violin competitions.
Hungarian composer Béla Bartók was born on March 25th 1881 and is considered one of the most famous Hungarian musician and composer along with Franz Liszt. Bartók was interested in music early on, and his parents quickly recognized it. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music in Budapest and composed his first major work in 1903. His early works were influenced by Richard Strauss and Johannes Brahms; large-scale orchestral music that was well-received. Soon after, he traveled extensively in Europe to study local folk music. Around this time, he was married to his first wife and had a son, born in 1910.
Eventually, the composer and his second wife (his first marriage ended in divorce) emigrated to the USA due to the Nazi party coming into power and the advent of the Second World War. In America, Bartók continued to work, both composing and collecting traditional music from his native region. When he fell ill in 1940, he wrote his most notable work The Concerto for Orchestra, and died five years later in New York City from leukemia, at age 64.
He left behind a great legacy of modern music influenced by both classical and folk themes, and that continues to fascinate audiences to this day thanks to a mixture of intellectualism and lyricism.