This is the only violin concerto that Bartók himself officially recognized. It is, perhaps, the most polished of all his concertos, and – as with the Sonata for Solo Violin a few years later — shows his consummate understanding of writing for strings. By good fortune its 1939 première, prepared with Zoltán Székely as soloist, was recorded, and remains a priceless document of performance practice. This concerto’s natural siblings include the inter-war violin concertos of Berg, Weill and Szymanowski.
Note by Malcolm Gillies