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About the program

The Miraculous Mandarin

Bartók learned about Menyhért Lengyel’s story in 1917, and started to write music for it in 1918. The composition was completed in May 1919 and the orchestration in 1924. In Menyhért Lengyel’s pantomime libretto Bartók felt the great questions of human existence, the arch-formulae of men and women, passion and vulnerability, pleasure and pain. Bartók only saw his ballet on stage once: the 1926 premiere in Koln, which ended in a scandal, was conducted by Jenő Szenkár. Other shows were banned, and the Budapest premiere scheduled for 1931 was cancelled. The piece gained its due position on opera stages and concert halls in Hungary only after 1956.

Antonín Dvořák: Legend no.10

Dvořák composed Legends in 1881. The composer dedicated the series, originally intended to be a piano piece for four hands, to Eduard Hanslick, a friend of Dvořák and Brahms. Hanslick was the most influential music critic in Vienna, born in Prague. Dvořák composed the cycle after encouragement from Simrock. It was a safe bet for the publisher, who hit the jackpot by publishing Slavonic dances.

Antonín Dvořák: Symphony no.8

Dvořák started to compose his Symphony No. 8 in August 1889 in his beloved apartment in the countryside in Vysoka, in a stable financial position and using all of his creative talent. It took him only two-and-a-half weeks to complete the sketches and the piece was completed by 8 November. The premiere in February 1890 was conducted by the composer himself. It was Symphony No. 8 that he conducted in 1891 in Cambridge when receiving the honorary doctoral title of this prestigious university.


Béla Bartók: The Miraculous Mandarin, Ballet
Antonín Dvořák: Legend no.10
Antonín Dvořák: Symphony no.8


Iván Fischer