Sometime in the early 1940’s, Bela Bartok emigrated to the United States. He was broke, and, what is worse, sick. Serge Koussevitsky, conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, commissioned him to write a piece, which he composed while lying sick. The result was his concerto for orchestra, a magnificent piece human ingenuity. In it is all the angst and hope that one would think a suffering man might have. Sometimes the worst circumstances in life produce the most amazing and surprising things. That’s comforting when times are tough. When times are good, it’s a frightening thought.
Here’s the first movement: