Author Topic: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)  (Read 84051 times)

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karlhenning

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #40 on: January 02, 2009, 10:03:05 AM »
Oh, quite a bit, really.

Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #41 on: January 03, 2009, 11:28:40 AM »
The Emersons' Bartok set is the best I've ever heard. And that's what a lot of critics say, too.

Ever listened to the 60s Julliard, or better yet, the Tokyo on DG? I reckon you haven't.

Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #42 on: January 03, 2009, 11:50:44 AM »
Be gone heathen. I'll swear to that set until the day i die. Emerson's technical perfection combined with the transparency of their textures may create the illusion of a great interpretation, but if you listen very closely, particularly after being exposed to the Tokyo, you'll see that they are brushing over a lot of material and missing important detail, particularly in the reproduction of all the little folk reminiscences intended by the composer. Since you were lucky enough to get your hands on the set now that it is hopelessly out of print, you may want to give it another try and see for yourself.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2009, 12:04:22 PM by Josquin des Prez »

Offline stress.in.jaw

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #43 on: January 11, 2009, 03:45:22 PM »
Be gone heathen. I'll swear to that set until the day i die. Emerson's technical perfection combined with the transparency of their textures may create the illusion of a great interpretation, but if you listen very closely, particularly after being exposed to the Tokyo, you'll see that they are brushing over a lot of material and missing important detail, particularly in the reproduction of all the little folk reminiscences intended by the composer. Since you were lucky enough to get your hands on the set now that it is hopelessly out of print, you may want to give it another try and see for yourself.

from the recordings I currently have, including the vegh quartet, zehetmair quartet, tokyo quartet, takács quartet, and the emerson quartet, I can honestly say that the emerson string quartet is by far the best. IMO of course.

but now I'm curious: could you mention a few specific examples (as in quartet, movement, bar. etc)?, because I also own the scores and would like to see what parts they skipped or what composer indications they ignored. granted, I could go over the whole thing myself but I'm lazy :)
« Last Edit: January 11, 2009, 03:47:39 PM by stress.in.jaw »

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #44 on: January 11, 2009, 04:43:13 PM »
It breaks my heart to see the Sz. 116 talked down...

Breaks mine too...for many, many years Bartok was, to me, the Concerto for Orchestra. Of all the major composers, he's the one I've had the most trouble approaching. But certainly not Sz.116! Cozied right up to it immediately (Szell and Cleveland).

Sarge
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Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #45 on: January 11, 2009, 04:47:12 PM »
You don't even know what you're talking about Josquin, please stop pretending like you do. We see right through it.

He may or may not know what he's talking about, but the Tokyo Quartet's Bartok is my favorite too. The battle lines are drawn, the forces deployed. Let the slaughter commence! ;D

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
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Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #46 on: January 11, 2009, 09:14:01 PM »
Of all the major composers, he's the one I've had the most trouble approaching.

I sincerely hope one day this will change for you, Sarge. I'm such a huge fan of Bartok that I hate to think what others might be missing by not experiencing his music (okay, excuse the kitsch ;D).

I, too, love his Concerto for Orchestra, but I'm especially drawn to his chamber music. His two violin sonatas are perhaps my very favorite music of all.

Yes, he has his forbidding side but once I pierced through his outward 'unruliness' everything made perfect sense (IOW, I didn't always like him but once bitten...).

I will say that one stumbling block for me early on might have been lack of performances that caught my attention. If I may make a suggestion as to recordings, Ivan Fischer to my ears is particularly attuned to Bartok's idiomatic sound world. He's fully reconciled the diversity of musical influences into an extremely convincing whole. From Hungarian folksiness, to drama, to buoyancy, to crackling modernity. Sort of a 'one-stop' of Bartok goodness.

Below is a three-CD set which collects many of Bartok's best orchestral works with Fischer at the helm. And best of all it's going for a pittance on the Amazons:





Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

karlhenning

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #47 on: January 12, 2009, 05:10:17 AM »
. . .I, too, love his Concerto for Orchestra, but I'm especially drawn to his chamber music. His two violin sonatas are perhaps my very favorite music of all.

Yes, he has his forbidding side but once I pierced through his outward 'unruliness' everything made perfect sense (IOW, I didn't always like him but once bitten...).

There's a lot of talk (and overuse of the m-word) about artists who blaze their own trail in disregard of the well-trodden paths.  For me, in this sense, Bartók's set of three are the Anti-Piano-Concerti . . . they are more like chamber music than like the warm, big-gestured beast that the piano concerto became in the late Romantic era (not that I have any quarrel to that, of course).

karlhenning

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #48 on: January 12, 2009, 06:48:15 AM »
. . . His two violin sonatas are perhaps my very favorite music of all.

I need to get to know these better, too . . . .

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #49 on: January 12, 2009, 07:25:57 AM »
I sincerely hope one day this will change for you, Sarge.

It already has changed. I meant I had trouble approaching most of Bartok's music in the 70s and 80s. It started to click for me roughly when I switched from LPs to CDs. I have no trouble listening to his music now. Loving most of it without reservation?...well, I haven't reached that point yet. As you can see from my list, out of some 5000 CDs I own, there's not much Bartok. The basics are covered but I haven't delved deeply into his chamber and piano works yet.

BARTOK   DUKE BLUEBEARD'S CASTLE     KERTESZ   LSO   LUDWIG/BERRY
BARTOK   THE MIRACULOUS MANDARIN  DORATI   DETROIT   
BARTOK   CONCERTO FOR ORCHESTRA     REINER   CHICAGO   
BARTOK   CONCERTO FOR ORCHESTRA     DUTOIT   MONTREAL SO   
BARTOK   CONCERTO FOR ORCHESTRA     SZELL   CLEVELAND      
BARTOK   MUSIC FOR STRINGS PERCUSSION AND CELESTA  REINER   CHICAGO   
BARTOK   MUSIC FOR STRINGS PERCUSSION AND CELESTA  DUTOIT   MONTREAL SO   
BARTOK   MUSIC FOR STRINGS PERCUSSION AND CELESTA  DORATI   DETROIT   
BARTOK   HUNGARIAN SKETCHES   REINER   CHICAGO
BARTOK   PIANO CONCERTO #1   DAVIS   LSO   BISHOP
BARTOK   PIANO CONCERTO #1   BOULEZ   CHICAGO   ZIMERMAN
BARTOK   PIANO CONCERTO #2   DAVIS   BBC SO   BISHOP
BARTOK   PIANO CONCERTO #2   BOULEZ   BERLIN PHIL ANDSNES
BARTOK   PIANO CONCERTO #3   DAVIS   LSO   BISHOP
BARTOK   PIANO CONCERTO #3   BOULEZ   LSO   GRIMAUD
BARTOK   VIOLIN CONCERTO #1   SOLTI   CHICAGO   KYUNG-WHA CHUNG
BARTOK   VIOLIN CONCERTO #2   SOLTI   LPO      KYUNG-WHA CHUNG
BARTOK   VIOLIN CONCERTO #2   RATTLE   CBSO      KYUNG-WHA CHUNG
BARTOK   VIOLA CONCERTO   KLEMPERER    CONCERTGEBOUW PRIMROSE
BARTOK   TWO PORTRAITS OP.5    KALMAR   GRANT PARK O   KOH
BARTOK   RHAPSODY #1   RATTLE   CBSO    KYUNG-WHA CHUNG
BARTOK   RHAPSODY #2   RATTLE   CBSO    KYUNG-WHA CHUNG
BARTOK   STRING QUARTETS      EMERSON QUARTET   
BARTOK   STRING QUARTET #3      KRONOS QUARTET      
BARTOK   SONATA FOR VIOLIN AND PIANO #1  KREMER/ARGERICH
BARTOK   SONATA FOR VIOLIN AND PIANO #2  MUTTER/ORKIS

Quote
Below is a three-CD set which collects many of Bartok's best orchestral works with Fischer at the helm. And best of all it's going for a pittance on the Amazons

Looks interesting and has some works I don't own. The six-CD set on Nimbus is also really cheap. Any thoughts on this?

http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/7898015?rk=home&rsk=hitlist


Sarge
« Last Edit: January 12, 2009, 07:28:32 AM by Sergeant Rock »
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #50 on: January 12, 2009, 07:46:47 AM »
I apologise to those I have upset by my harsh words about the Concerto for Orchestra :(

I do still prefer Bluebeard's Castle, the first and second Piano Concertos and the Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta but I am not going to deny the superb orchestral showmanship of the Concerto for Orchestra :) I have it in three versions: Jansons(Oslo Philharmonic), Boulez(Chicago SO) and Ancerl(Czech Philharmonic).

Offline Todd

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #51 on: January 12, 2009, 07:50:41 AM »
Since you were lucky enough to get your hands on the set now that it is hopelessly out of print


You're not referring to the Tokyo set, are you?  It's currently in print and MDT lists it.



I can't say that it's the greatest around, nor is it awful, so I'm not sure what all the fuss is about.  Before Dundonnell apologized for maligning one of Bartok's greatest works, I can see what that fuss was about.
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George

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #52 on: January 12, 2009, 08:43:18 AM »
I have and love the string quartets and the piano concertos. Also, concerto for orchestra. All great stuff IMO. I haven't ventured further, but I will reference this thread if I do.

Offline Diletante

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #53 on: January 12, 2009, 09:00:16 AM »
There's a lot of talk (and overuse of the m-word)

What's the m-word? Modernist?

By the way, I've given the Concerto for Orchestra a few good spins since my last post and I've come to like it and not doze off during the slow movements. I've also been listening to his Piano Concerto No. 1 and I discovered that I had a video of a performance of his Romanian Folk Dances (for string orchestra) so I've been listening to that, too.
Orgullosamente diletante.

karlhenning

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #54 on: January 12, 2009, 09:01:16 AM »
What's the m-word? Modernist?

"m@verick"

Drasko

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #55 on: January 12, 2009, 09:21:48 AM »
The basics are covered but I haven't delved deeply into his chamber and piano works yet.



Sonata for two pianos & percussion

karlhenning

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #56 on: January 12, 2009, 09:22:19 AM »
!!!

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #57 on: January 12, 2009, 09:23:57 PM »
It already has changed. I meant I had trouble approaching most of Bartok's music in the 70s and 80s. It started to click for me roughly when I switched from LPs to CDs.

Ahh, gotcha. :)

Quote
I have no trouble listening to his music now. Loving most of it without reservation?...well, I haven't reached that point yet. As you can see from my list, out of some 5000 CDs I own, there's not much Bartok. The basics are covered but I haven't delved deeply into his chamber and piano works yet.

BARTOK   DUKE BLUEBEARD'S CASTLE     KERTESZ   LSO   LUDWIG/BERRY
BARTOK   THE MIRACULOUS MANDARIN  DORATI   DETROIT   
BARTOK   CONCERTO FOR ORCHESTRA     REINER   CHICAGO   
BARTOK   CONCERTO FOR ORCHESTRA     DUTOIT   MONTREAL SO   
BARTOK   CONCERTO FOR ORCHESTRA     SZELL   CLEVELAND      
BARTOK   MUSIC FOR STRINGS PERCUSSION AND CELESTA  REINER   CHICAGO   
BARTOK   MUSIC FOR STRINGS PERCUSSION AND CELESTA  DUTOIT   MONTREAL SO   
BARTOK   MUSIC FOR STRINGS PERCUSSION AND CELESTA  DORATI   DETROIT   
BARTOK   HUNGARIAN SKETCHES   REINER   CHICAGO
BARTOK   PIANO CONCERTO #1   DAVIS   LSO   BISHOP
BARTOK   PIANO CONCERTO #1   BOULEZ   CHICAGO   ZIMERMAN
BARTOK   PIANO CONCERTO #2   DAVIS   BBC SO   BISHOP
BARTOK   PIANO CONCERTO #2   BOULEZ   BERLIN PHIL ANDSNES
BARTOK   PIANO CONCERTO #3   DAVIS   LSO   BISHOP
BARTOK   PIANO CONCERTO #3   BOULEZ   LSO   GRIMAUD
BARTOK   VIOLIN CONCERTO #1   SOLTI   CHICAGO   KYUNG-WHA CHUNG
BARTOK   VIOLIN CONCERTO #2   SOLTI   LPO      KYUNG-WHA CHUNG
BARTOK   VIOLIN CONCERTO #2   RATTLE   CBSO      KYUNG-WHA CHUNG
BARTOK   VIOLA CONCERTO   KLEMPERER    CONCERTGEBOUW PRIMROSE
BARTOK   TWO PORTRAITS OP.5    KALMAR   GRANT PARK O   KOH
BARTOK   RHAPSODY #1   RATTLE   CBSO    KYUNG-WHA CHUNG
BARTOK   RHAPSODY #2   RATTLE   CBSO    KYUNG-WHA CHUNG
BARTOK   STRING QUARTETS      EMERSON QUARTET   
BARTOK   STRING QUARTET #3      KRONOS QUARTET      
BARTOK   SONATA FOR VIOLIN AND PIANO #1  KREMER/ARGERICH
BARTOK   SONATA FOR VIOLIN AND PIANO #2  MUTTER/ORKIS

That list is certainly enough to keep a person busy for awhile. Some mighty fine stuff, there. I have a few of them myself, including the two violin sonata recordings (the way #2 comes to a close is mesmerizing), the Emerson set, the Chung/Rattle disc, the Boulez PC disc, and the Dutoit, who's surprisingly effective despite his somewhat soft-cell approach.

I guess if you haven't been completely won over with what you have the Ivan Fischer set may be superfluous. But it might be worth a try as Fischer really isn't like anyone else on that list, at least orchestrally. It's the warmth and color mixed with Bartok's "maverickness" that does it. Sharp, jutting attacks coexist with a certain 'earthiness' that brings a freshness and vitality to the music. Unique. 

Quote
Looks interesting and has some works I don't own. The six-CD set on Nimbus is also really cheap. Any thoughts on this?

http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/7898015?rk=home&rsk=hitlist


That looks very interesting. Unfortunately I've never heard a note of Adam Fischer's Bartok. However, what I've read of him (mostly in Fanfare) seems to point to quality goods if a bit mixed. But that's pure hearsay from my end.

What I would be worried about in that set is Nimbus's dreaded recording technique and their penchant for extreme reverb with decay that seems to go on forever. It's a complete distraction to me and something I've never been able to come to terms with. I equate it with the dreaded "bathroom" acoustics and I simply avoid it at all costs (sort of a phobia I guess at this stage ;D). However, it might not be an issue at all for you or even some others but I do know Bulldog/Don has voiced his dissenting opinion about it as well.

Anyway, not much help but...


Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #58 on: January 12, 2009, 09:43:34 PM »
I need to get to know these better, too . . . .

I ran across one critic (Fanfare?) who characterized the two violin sonatas as the most daunting pair of works Bartok wrote. He didn't go into specifics but I can't imagine any fan of Bartok having much trouble with them.

For myself I took to them both right away.

Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #59 on: January 12, 2009, 10:27:18 PM »
There's a lot of talk (and overuse of the m-word) about artists who blaze their own trail in disregard of the well-trodden paths.  For me, in this sense, Bartók's set of three are the Anti-Piano-Concerti . . . they are more like chamber music than like the warm, big-gestured beast that the piano concerto became in the late Romantic era (not that I have any quarrel to that, of course).

Yes, I wholeheartedly agree. "Classically" proportioned works to highlight the entirety of the musical canvas with the piano soloist fully integrated. Quite a change after all that romanticism.

BTW, one aspect of Bartok's art that I don't think has been mentioned yet is his prowess as piano virtuoso. Part of his fame early on rested on his concert tours and his ability to showcase his razzle-dazzle piano technique. But oddly enough, in spite of the fact the piano was close to his heart and he wrote prolifically for it little of his solo piano output has made much of an impact, at least on record. Which is NOT to imply it's not good. But outside the piano sonata and Out of Doors not much seems to have made it into the standard repertoire.   

One reason for this I understand is the fact so much of it is relatively simplistic - not including most of the Mikrokosmos of course as these are teaching pieces. Whatever the case I'd still consider the piano music very worthwhile listening, and then some.

 
Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach