(2019) TIBOR VARGA, RARE LIVE RECORDINGS
Tibor Varga (1921-2003) was six years old when he made his first public appearance. At ten, he took on his first solo role with an orchestra, performing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto op. 64. At the age of 13, he made his first recordings. At 14, he took on his first concert tours abroad, until his career had abruptly been interrupted by World War II. After the War he continued his concert activities, becoming one of the most prominent soloists. Varga collaborated with eminent conductors such as Ernest Ansermet, Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, Ferenc Fricsay, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Igor Markevitch, Hans Rosbaud, Georg Solti and others. He performed with the greatest orchestras such as the Philharmonia Orchestra London and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and recorded for labels such as Deutsche Grammophon and EMI. A recording of the Bartok Violin Concerto no. 2 with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Ferenc Fricsay as well as his versions of the Violin Concertos by Max Bruch, Mozart, Carl Nielsen, Paganini, Tchaikovsky etc. have become major references of musical interpretation.
Varga's classical repertory included the great Violin Concertos as well as the important Violin Sonatas and Concert Pieces. In addition, from the beginning of his career, Tibor Varga devoted himself to contemporary music, of which he became a pioneer. In particular, his interpretations (premières) and recordings of the Violin Concertos and other compositions by Béla Bartók, Alban Berg and Arnold Schönberg have raised these works to the status of "classics" of the repertoire and given them a prime position in international musical life. Among others, Varga played the Australian Première of Alban Berg's Violin Concerto and in 1949, the Violin Concerto by Arnold Schönberg. The composer himself paid tribute to his enthusiasm by a letter which has become famous: "I wished to be younger to write more music of this kind for you." (Schönberg, Letters). The Schönberg Violin Concerto, like the Violin Concertos by Berg, Shostakovich and other works, were also interpreted by Tibor Varga at the BBC Promenade Concerts in the London Royal Albert Hall. Furthermore, he gave the Austrian Première of the Violin Concerto by Strawinsky as well as the World Premières of numerous compositions partly also dedicated to him, such as the Violin Concertos by Boris Blacher, Ernst Krenek, Gösta Nyström, Almeida Prado, Matyas Seiber and Winfried Zillig.
From the beginning of the 1950s, Varga enjoyed equal success as a conductor. His conducting career led to the establishment, in 1954, of a chamber orchestra bearing his name (Kammerorchester Tibor Varga) at Detmold, Germany, as well as to that of the Tibor Varga Festival Orchestra (1964-2001) at Sion. He was chief conductor and artistic director of these ensembles as well as - from 1989 to 1993 - of the Orchestre des Pays de Savoie (France). In addition, Tibor Varga had regularly been invited as a guest conductor to orchestras of international renown.