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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000431.txt from 1994/05

From: "Dan Leeson: LEESON@-----.EDU>
Subj: Re: Koussevitzky
Date: Thu, 26 May 1994 11:45:31 -0400

The fact that the BSO commissioned Bartok's concerto for orchestra and
Koussevitzky's involvement with that commission, as was just stated on
the board, is both correct and laudable. But be cautious, Bartok did
not get very much money even for those days for this marvelous composition.
He could and should have gotten much more for his effort. Also, he kind
of got knocked around a little by Koussevitzky at the first rehearsals for
the work, not undeservedly, by the way.

Bartok was present when the first rehearsal took place and the orchestra
did not get 3 measures into the reading when Bartok leaped up and
interrupted Koussevitzky saying something like "Maestro, in the 3rd trombone,
the 2nd note is f, not f-sharp." Bartok had a stupendous ear and could
pick out stuff like that all night.

K thanked him, suggested that the 2nd trombone make the correction and went
back to work.

In 2 more measures, Bartok leaped up again: "Maestro! Maestro!! In the
2nd violin, 9th note; it should be g double sharp, not g sharp."

This time K. thanked B. but less effusively. Rehearsal begins again and
the same thing happens, and after a half dozen such interruptions, K.
suggests to B. "Take some paper and pencil and mark down all the
errors and we will correct them all at once during the break."

Rehearsal begins, and Bartok starts writing like crazy. He is covering
sheet after sheet and cannot seem to write fast enough. The orchestra
is now more interested in Bartok than Koussevitzky and the rehearsal
becomes a shambles.

At the break, K. and B. retire to K.'s office and the door is closed. After
10 minutes they come out and B.'s face is red while K.'s is pale.

K. stands up in front of the orchestra and says, "Gentlemen. Mr. Bartok
wanted me to tell you that everything is perfect! Let us begin again."

End of story.

Dan Leeson, Los Altos, California

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