Acclaimed ensemble Camerata Pacifica has received the original manuscript of Béla Bartók’s 2nd Rhapsody for Violin & Piano.

The document, in Bartók’s hand, is a gift from the family of Zoltán Székely, to whom the work was dedicated and has been given for the benefit of Camerata Pacifica.

According to Székely, in 1928 at a dinner party in the Bartók home, Bartók said, “I have a surprise for you,” and produced the manuscripts of the two rhapsodies, which no one else had previously seen.

“One is for you; one is for Szigeti,” Bartók told Székely. “You may choose which one you like for the dedication.”

Additionally, the Székely family has donated a series of letters between Bartók and Zoltán Székely, many of which detail the evolution of the 2nd Violin Concerto, also written for Székely.

There also are two violin bows, one of which, Zoltán’s favorite, had been owned by Eugène Ysaÿe.

“These are astonishing gifts, not just for the support they will ultimately provide our ensemble, but because of the contact with musical history,” said Adrian Spence, Camerata Pacifica’s artistic director.

“To be able to read these letters and touch this music is, quite frankly, breathtaking. We are so, so grateful to the family of Zoltán Székely. These are true treasures,” Spence said.

Coincidentally, in December, Camerata Pacifica has on its program Bartók’s 2nd Rhapsody, with violinist Gilles Apap and pianist Molly Morkoski.

— Donna Jean Liss for Camerata Pacifica.