Piano Concerto No 2 (Bartok)

From Wind Repertory Project
Béla Bartók

Béla Bartók

This entire concerto bears the designation Sz. 95, BB 101. However, only the first movement of the concerto is appropriate for wind ensemble. and piano.

General Info

Year: 1932
Duration: c. 9:00
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes
Cost: Score and Parts - Rental


1. Allegro – 9:13

Instrumentation (1st movement only)

Solo Piano
Piccolo (doubling Flute III)
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat/A Clarinet I-II
C Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion (2 players), including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Snare Drum
  • Tambourine
  • Triangle


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Bartók’s less hair-raising, but longer, companion to the 1926 concerto. He said he wanted a work “less bristling with difficulties for the orchestra and whose thematic material would be more pleasing”. He characterized this concerto’s themes as ‘“light and popular”, which, given Bartók’s recent history, they are – comparatively.

- Program Note from publisher

Béla Bartók's Piano Concerto No. 2 in G major, Sz. 95, BB 101 (1930–31) is the second of three piano concerti, and is notorious for being one of the most difficult pieces in the repertoire. The composer intended the second concerto to be more attractive than the first.

In approaching the composition, Bartók wanted the music to be more contrapuntal. He also wanted to simplify his music (like many of his contemporaries), but his use of counterpoint in this piece makes for an extremely complicated piece of music. This aspect had proven particularly troublesome in the First Concerto, so much so, in fact, that the New York Philharmonic, which was to have given the premiere, could not master it in time, and Bartók's Rhapsody had to be substituted into the program. The composer himself acknowledged that the piano part was arduous and later said that the concerto "is a bit difficult—one might even say very difficult!—as much for orchestra as for audience." He apparently tried to offset that with the Second Concerto, which has enjoyed both critical acclaim and worldwide popularity. Indeed, Bartók himself claimed in a 1939 article to have composed this concerto as a direct contrast to the First. Nonetheless, the concerto is notorious for its difficulty.

The overall form of the Second Concerto is symmetrical—the tempo structure is fast-slow-fast-slow-fast—in the Bartókian manner that has come to be identified as arch form. The first movement, marked Allegro, is highlighted by the active, punctuating piano solo. The piano's quick, rhythmic pace and fragmentary scalar movement suggest the influence of Igor Stravinsky, and the ballet Petrushka (1910–11) in particular, while other characteristics point to The Firebird; the main theme of the movement, introduced by the trumpets, is a reference to The Firebird's finale.

- Program Note from Wikipedia

Concerto No. 2 was composed in 1930 and premiered by Béla Bartók in Frankfort, with Hans Rosbaud conducting, on January 23, 1933. Although composed for solo piano and full orchestra, the first movement, Allegro, is scored for piano, winds and percussion only. In this work Bartók's "clear springs" of folk music bubble to the surface in folklike tunes. In his 1931 discussion on "The Significance of Folk Music," Bartók wrote, "Every artist has the right to sink roots in the art of the past. It is not only his rights, but his duty."

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Bartók, B. (1932). Concerto II, for Piano and Orchestra [score]. Boosey & Hawkes: New York.
  • Piano Concerto No. 2 (Bartók), Wikipedia
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 40.