Author Topic: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)  (Read 84134 times)

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karlhenning

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #20 on: October 27, 2008, 04:40:14 PM »
The other day I was listening to the reissue of Antal Doráti conducting this, from the 5-disc Bartók box:


M forever

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #21 on: October 27, 2008, 09:40:27 PM »
Good to see a Bartok thread.  I saw Salonen's recording of The Concerto for Orchestra the other day?  Is it a good one?

It's very solid, but then there so many much better ones with more profile and character, e.g. Boulez/CSO, Kubelík/BSO, HNPO/Kocsis, BFO/Fischer, Cleveland/Dohnányi (probably my personal favorite, coupled with a great Lutoslawski Concerto for Orchestra), BP/Karajan, KCA/Dorati (another favorite), OSM/Dutoit, to name just a few which come to mind spontaneously.

Offline jowcol

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #22 on: December 26, 2008, 12:59:17 PM »
Bumping this thread was well...

My standout favorite has to be the Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste.  The fugue in the opening movement simply kills me. 

I'm also fond of the Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion.

Concerto for Orchestra is an obvious choice-- for good reason.

I'm also fond of all of the Piano Concerti-- the middle movement of his Second has some of of my favorite examples of his "night music".

"If it sounds good, it is good."
Duke Ellington

Bu

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #23 on: December 26, 2008, 02:15:10 PM »
I recently purchased his SQ performed by the Vermeer on Naxos as a way to get familiar with the pieces. I've heard there are better renditions out there, but the price was good and at first listening it sounds like a keeper.

As a side note, I'm shocked to only see two pages devoted to Bartok!   ???   :o  ::)

karlhenning

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #24 on: December 26, 2008, 03:06:39 PM »
Bumping this thread was well...

My standout favorite has to be the Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste.  The fugue in the opening movement simply kills me. 

I'm also fond of the Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion.

Concerto for Orchestra is an obvious choice-- for good reason.

I'm also fond of all of the Piano Concerti-- the middle movement of his Second has some of of my favorite examples of his "night music".

Here in my undisclosed Yuletide location, I am dependent on my Sansa Fuze for musical refreshment.  Of the various composers represented in playlists on thisdelightful little appliance, Bartók is the best represented . . . and there are musical reasons for this  8)

I recently purchased his SQ performed by the Vermeer on Naxos as a way to get familiar with the pieces. I've heard there are better renditions out there, but the price was good and at first listening it sounds like a keeper.

Three or four walks into Borders, I nearly bought that one.  Nor do I think it would have been anything like a disaster to have gone ahead and bought it.  96% of the 60-second clips I listened to, all seemed to corroborate the praise I have heard offered for this set.  There was one clip, the opening of a last movement, which stood out as strangely deliberate . . . and that's really the only reason I've been cautious.

The caution, BTW, is purely practical, as I manage my music shekels pretty carefully these days.  If the budget were larger, I should snap up the Vermeer Quartet set with nary a compunction.

Offline Diletante

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #25 on: December 26, 2008, 06:20:50 PM »
Is the Concerto for Orchestra a good piece for people who are listening to Bartók for the first time? I've listened to it a few times, but I'm having an extremely hard time keeping focused. My mind drifts away after the first movement and comes back in the fifth with that nice folk-ish tune, and I feel like I've never listened to the middle movements...  :(
Orgullosamente diletante.

karlhenning

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #26 on: December 26, 2008, 07:12:14 PM »
Is the Concerto for Orchestra a good piece for people who are listening to Bartók for the first time?

May or may not be; there's more ways to the woods than one.

You might try the Fourth String Quartet, the Second Piano Concerto, or Contrasts for cl/vn/pf.

Offline Ugh!

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #27 on: December 27, 2008, 07:27:51 AM »
Is the Concerto for Orchestra a good piece for people who are listening to Bartók for the first time? I've listened to it a few times, but I'm having an extremely hard time keeping focused. My mind drifts away after the first movement and comes back in the fifth with that nice folk-ish tune, and I feel like I've never listened to the middle movements...  :(

That depends on your taste of course, personally I am a great fan of Bartok but not the Concerto for Orchestra. In addition to Karl's suggestions, I add Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, Divertimento for Strings, and if you are looking for fury: The Miraculous Mandarin.

karlhenning

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #28 on: December 29, 2008, 03:42:00 PM »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #29 on: December 29, 2008, 03:46:16 PM »
I like the Third Piano Concerto and Second Violin Concerto.

Is the Koussevitsky Concerto for Orchestra (Naxos) worth having?
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

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Offline stress.in.jaw

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #30 on: December 30, 2008, 12:13:35 AM »
hi.

i think concerto for orchestra might be a good choice for introduction. but i would start with the piano concertos. no1 and no3 mostly. i never hear anyone talk about piano concerto no3, but it's a pretty beautiful work imo. and the very beginning of piano concerto no1 will totally win you over, i promise.

i'm sort of obsessed with his music.

nice to see a mention of the 4th quartet. the last movement is so incredibly intense. i've got several recordings but my favorite is the one by the emerson string quartet. i've gotten so used to it that i found a youtube recording of some quartet playing the last movement at a slower speed and i couldn't take it, had to turn it off. maybe the emerson quartet plays it faster than it should be but it's just the right tempo for me.

actually that youtube recording was audio only. i think there's only one youtube _video_ of that movement, and the tempo is good but the recording is poor, in mono too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0aTBbNLios

i read once that this work was supposed to have four movements, but he then decided to add the pizzicato movement as fourth movement, and push the allegro molto to the fifth (last)position. to make it into arc form or something. and honestly   i always felt it didn't fit (even prior to reading about it), but i still listen to it every time (i've got this sort of anti-song-skipping principle when i listen to albums, don't know why). it's a good piece, anyway.

the second movement from the 2nd string quartet is another favorite of mine. i guess i tend to gravitate towards his more intense pieces. but then there's the whole "night music" style he had going on which is obviously pretty amazing.

the 1st movement from the 5th quartet is also a fav. but i had to buy the score because i just couldn't figure out the beginning (rhythm-wise) part by myself from the recordings. pretty amazing.

a short piece i absolutely love is "one grotesque" from his work "two portraits: one ideal, one grotesque". i read that he had a long distance relationship with some woman and he sent her a letter telling her about how this work was inspired by her, and she then sent him a letter in which she was breaking up with him. what a feedback.

there's also the wooden prince and the miraculous mandarin, two great works but i don't listen to those as frequently as i listen to the rest of his works, of which i recommend:

the violin sonatas, the violin concertos, the string quartets 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 (6th doesn't really grab me), contrasts (especially the lento and allegro vivace movements), the hungarian pictures and romanian folkdances, two portraits (especially "one grotesque"), two pictures (especially "in full bloom". actually they're both great, "village dance" has these little string "bursts" that i love. like short rhythmic patterns that sound like they're triggered arbitrarily), the dance suites, music for strings, percussion and celesta (this one is absolutely amazing, but i don't like that the second movement kind of blends the whole orchestra and i never get to hear the very yummy fast rhythmic pattern in the first 4 bars. i bought the score and when i read that i was like "wow this is awesome, i wish i could listen to it on the recordings!". i guess it's too many instruments for it to sound "tight"), and divertimento for string orchestra.

sometimes i even listen to his "for children" pieces (only a few of them though).

anyways, nice to see a thread about him.

cheers

karlhenning

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #31 on: December 30, 2008, 05:47:50 AM »
nice to see a mention of the 4th quartet. the last movement is so incredibly intense. i've got several recordings but my favorite is the one by the emerson string quartet. i've gotten so used to it that i found a youtube recording of some quartet playing the last movement at a slower speed and i couldn't take it, had to turn it off. maybe the emerson quartet plays it faster than it should be but it's just the right tempo for me.

Could that be the Vermeer Quartet, by any chance?  I once did a 'clip-by-clip' survey of their set on Naxos, most of which sounded promising, only there was one final movement which dragged . . . .

Offline stress.in.jaw

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #32 on: December 30, 2008, 07:22:39 AM »
Could that be the Vermeer Quartet, by any chance?  I once did a 'clip-by-clip' survey of their set on Naxos, most of which sounded promising, only there was one final movement which dragged . . . .

yep!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmkDMTU-hb4

it sounds so drained.

karlhenning

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #33 on: January 02, 2009, 08:53:00 AM »
Well, mission largely accomplished.  This week, away from the office, and indeed out of town, with ample time, one of my goals was to get from Stage I ("I've heard all the Bartók quartets, and I like everything I hear, but . . . ." which is actually a stage I've been 'stuck' at for a longer time than I quite wished) to Stage II.

Detailing Stage II (while yet strategizing for Stage III) will be some telling.

Offline Guido

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #34 on: January 02, 2009, 09:15:35 AM »
Never understood the appeal of the concerto for orchestra personally... I love many Bartok pieces - string quartets, Violin Rhapsodies and concertos, violin sonatas, Piano concertos, viola concerto, Bluebeard's Castle... but that one has never grabbed me at all.
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Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #35 on: January 02, 2009, 09:31:08 AM »
For me Bartok's greatness lies in the first two piano concertos, Bluebeard's Castle and the Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta rather than the more popular Piano Concerto No.3 or the Concerto for Orchestra. The latter piece is flashy, showy, but, I( find, rather superficial and soulless.

karlhenning

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #36 on: January 02, 2009, 09:41:25 AM »
It breaks my heart to see the Sz. 116 talked down so!  It was probably the first Bartók work ever I heard, and was an immediate favorite.  From the very opening of the Introduzione, with the fourth-ey quasi-recit. in the lower strings (an echo of the start of the finale to the Beethoven Opus 125?), the tremolando upper strings sneaking in unobtrusively, and then the flutes' breathy 'roll-off', I was hooked.

karlhenning

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #37 on: January 02, 2009, 09:45:15 AM »
There are little harp 'plinks' in the Introduzione that melt me.

karlhenning

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #38 on: January 02, 2009, 09:46:29 AM »
Mercy, and that majestic brass fugato.  This is music I should be proud to have written.

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #39 on: January 02, 2009, 09:48:29 AM »
So you like it then?