Concerto for orchestra , 3rd movement.
This movement has been described as the "apex" of the concerto, being completely central, and was composed in honour of Koussevitsky's wife. It has impressionistic overtones; is reminiscent of Debussy's style. The movement is divided into three sections, section A, section B and a Da Capo. .
Section A (bars 1-33) .
This movement opens with the "darkness theme," with only the timpani and double bass playing. The intervals, 4th, 2nd, 3rd and a 5th give the opening a pentatonic feel. The mood is subdued and mysterious, with very quiet dynamics, and is very contrasting to the second movement. The harp plays two held minims before the strings come in with stretto entries. These are played above pedal notes played by the Double basses, (D, Db, C). .
In bars 10-22 Bartok's "night theme" is heard, with colourful, chromatic phrases played back and forth (antiphony) between the flutes and clarinets, whilst the pedal notes are sustained in the double basses, violins, violas and cellos. Glissandis are also played by the harp. The key in this section moves around C major and minor; this is heard in the string section. The piccolo enters at bar 14 and mimics ( a night) birdsong motif, which is heard again later on in the movemnt. .
A 6 part canon between the flutes and clarinets is heard from bars 23 to 26. The texture is thin but complex and enhances the atmosphere of mystery and anticipation. There is imitation and stretto entries within the violins in bars 26 to 28. The piccolo plays its birdsong theme until bar 33, the end of the A section. .
Section B begins with lots of energy, descending forte scales in the flutes, oboes, violins, violas, semiquaver motif in the clarinets and single notes in the ramainder of the instruments which are also all forte. This theme continues, and te dynamics remain forte, even rising to sfortsando in bars 35-38 in the bassoons.