David Loebel, Associate Director of Orchestras, conducts the NEC Philharmonia in an all-Hungarian program. He opens with the much neglected Ernest von Dohnányi'sSuite in F-sharp minor from 1909. Richard Freed, the critic and annotator has written of the work: "Anyone who has ever heard Dohnányi’s orchestral Suite in F-sharp minor, Op.19, must wonder about the incredible neglect of so substantial, brilliant and altogether ingratiating a work. There is not a single empty gesture in its half-hour span. Its four movements -- a dazzlingAndante con variazioni, a sly and bristlingScherzo, a lyric and songful Romanza, a rumbustious, exultant concluding Rondo(with a big, sweeping waltz and castanets) -- call to mind the pianist Artur Schnabel’s reference to the Schubert sonatas as "a safe supply of happiness."
The piece is pure enchantment, with its abundance of good tunes, imaginative orchestral coloring (including some delicious solo passages for clarinet and cello), its prevailing sense of fantasy, remarkable range of mood, and unforced charm." Loebel himself describes the Suite as "full of Hungarian paprikash."
A Bartók Piano Concerto (tba) follows with the solo performed by the winner of an NEC concerto competition.
The program closes with Zoltan Kodály's Galanta Dances, a setting of folk dances from area (now a part of Slovakia) where the composer spent much of his childhood. Kodaly wrote in the preface to the printed score: "The author spent the most beautiful seven years of his childhood in Galánta. The town band, led by the fiddler Mihók, was famous. But it must have been even more famous a hundred years earlier. Several volumes of Hungarian dances were published in Vienna around the year 1800. One of them lists its source this way: 'from several Gypsies in Galánta'... May this modest composition serve to continue the old tradition."