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The great Hungarian composer, classic of the 20th century Béla Bartók (1881–1945) created the Sonata for two pianos and percussion in 1937 according to the order of the Basel International Society of New Music. The conception is mostly large-scaled, so profound as to excel his symphony scores. It was not accidentally, that subsequently already in the U.S.A. in the 1940ies beginning Bartók made the new version of this composition — Concerto for two pianos and orchestra.
The première of the Sonata took place in Basel on January 16, 1938. The author and his wife Ditta Pasztori performed piano parts, while Fritz Schiesser and Philipp Rühlig played percussions.
The orchestra version of the Concerto took place in New-York on January 21, 1943 (conductor Fritz Reiner). The next day Bartók performed it once again. It occurred to be his last public concert.
The piano parts in the orchestral version differ in some instances from the version without orchestra. These passages are printed in small type on the ledger lines.