"... more and more beautiful performances ... "
In 1952, when Fricsay and I had to repeat the third movement of the Second Bartók Concerto at the opening of the IGNM celebration in Salzburg, what had already long been foreseen, became evident: the piece proved to be a work belonging to the classical repertoire. This performance gave us not only a time of intensive cooperation – we played the Second Bartók Concerto approximately sixty times - but it was also followed by a renewal of almost fraternal friendship.
Our relationship went back to the years when Fricsay gave open-air concerts with his military band in Szegedin. This was done, by the way, with the same dedication in which he later directed the big classical works.
More than fourteen years had passed until the aforementioned IGNM celebration. During these years, we had each independently become convinced that the Second Bartók Concerto, which had at first appeared to the audience as incomprehensible noise, is in fact romantic music. And I believe that here lies the secret of our success with this work; I played it with the same love as for Schumann’s Piano Concerto and Fricsay never regarded the orchestra part as a simple accompaniment, but rather it was as important to him as a Brahms symphony.
Just after receiving the award of the “grand Prix du Disque” for the Bartók Concerto, we played the Second Concerto with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. And this was a perfor-mance that will always remain one of my most cherished and beautiful memories.
Geza Anda (Pianist)