Monash University

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Béla Bartók’s Viola Concerto which published edition should I perform?

Version 2 2017-05-18, 02:12
Version 1 2017-02-24, 01:04
posted on 2017-05-18, 02:12 authored by Simpson, Cheralyn
Although Béla Bartók’s Viola Concerto has become a cornerstone in the viola concerto repertoire of the twentieth century, it is a controversial composition as it remained unfinished, and only in manuscript sketch form, at the time of Bartók’s death. The original published version, edited and completed by Tibor Serly (with assistance from the work’s dedicatee, William Primrose), has remained the most popular and performed viola work for the past sixty-six years. However, dissatisfaction with this edition has led to the subsequent creation of two new published editions. Faced with multiple editions, a violist is now confronted with the dilemma of selecting one edition over another. This research project examines the genesis and context of Bartók’s Viola Concerto, the original sketch of the work and the three available published editions to determine the most appropriate outcome from a violist’s perspective. By analysing, learning, and performing the various editions, I have drawn conclusions as to a preferred performance version and set out reasons to justify my selection. It is hoped my thesis will be of interest to violists establishing their standard viola repertoire with particular reference to solo performance. Additional material(s) submitted with thesis.


Principal supervisor

Kenji Fujimura

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music


Master of Arts (Music Performance)

Degree Type



Faculty of Arts

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