Author Topic: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)  (Read 110479 times)

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karlhenning

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #60 on: January 13, 2009, 04:55:25 AM »
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.

I just haven't listened to them much, though I certainly liked an initial hearing.  I didn't mean for them to be crowded away  :)

karlhenning

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #61 on: January 13, 2009, 04:57:41 AM »
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.

You are right;  another case where he stepped away from the mainstream, though here the music has been more marginalized.  Bitterly ironic, since he was a fine pianist!  Go fight City Hall . . . .

Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #62 on: January 13, 2009, 08:38:43 AM »
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.

Well, they are pretty atypical, particularly when compared to the style he adopted soon after writing those sonatas. I think the chief element that distinguishes this music from his mature works is that in the latter he sought to achieve a perfect synthesis of every stylistic element at his disposal, where as in the violin sonatas everything is contrast. One moment you are listening to Debussy, then here comes something inspired by Schoenberg, followed by a flight of folk melodies, and there doesn't seem to be any particular logic behind the seemingly disparaged use of those styles. The most difficoult element is that even the relationship between the two instruments is based on contrast, so that there seems to be little connection between the violin part and that played by the piano. Ravel uses some of the same stylistic elements in his own sonata, including the contrast between the violin and piano, so perhaps this is all typical of French music in general, though in the case of Ravel everything is much more subtle and subdued.

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #63 on: January 13, 2009, 05:50:51 PM »
I just haven't listened to them much, though I certainly liked an initial hearing.  I didn't mean for them to be crowded away  :)

Oops, sorry, Karl, I didn't mean to imply you were derelict or anything. There certainly isn't enough time in a lifetime to get around to all the worthwhile music out there. :)

What I meant to say was that the critic's hangup with the violin sonatas didn't make much sense to me as the works to my ears are as 'Bartokian' any other. I guess something about them just rubs him the wrong way.

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 #64 on: January 13, 2009, 06:00:33 PM »
What I meant to say was that the critic's hangup with the violin sonatas didn't make much sense to me as the works to my ears are as 'Bartokian' any other. I guess something about them just rubs him the wrong way.

Agreed.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #65 on: January 13, 2009, 06:04:19 PM »


Sonata for two pianos & percussion

Thank you. Yes, that's a major hole in my Bartok collection, which I'll fill in soon.

Sarge
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George

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #66 on: January 13, 2009, 06:05:40 PM »

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #67 on: January 13, 2009, 06:12:02 PM »
Well, they are pretty atypical, particularly when compared to the style he adopted soon after writing those sonatas. I think the chief element that distinguishes this music from his mature works is that in the latter he sought to achieve a perfect synthesis of every stylistic element at his disposal, where as in the violin sonatas everything is contrast. One moment you are listening to Debussy, then here comes something inspired by Schoenberg, followed by a flight of folk melodies, and there doesn't seem to be any particular logic behind the seemingly disparaged use of those styles. The most difficoult element is that even the relationship between the two instruments is based on contrast, so that there seems to be little connection between the violin part and that played by the piano. Ravel uses some of the same stylistic elements in his own sonata, including the contrast between the violin and piano, so perhaps this is all typical of French music in general, though in the case of Ravel everything is much more subtle and subdued.

Well, the two violin sonatas might be the products of Bartok's first great flowering but they really can't be classified as immature. The two works postdate such great works as the The Miraculous Mandarin, Bluebeard's Castle, and the first two quartets.

Yes, there might still be evidence of Bartok trying to find himself stylistically in these earlier works but none of them could be called patchwork pieces.

So if there's a 'disjointedness' to the violin sonatas that puts you off, I can't say such a thing has any negative effect on me.

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 #68 on: January 13, 2009, 06:15:08 PM »
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 Dundonnell

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #69 on: January 13, 2009, 06:25:42 PM »
I wonder how many of you are familiar with these early Bartok compositions? Rich, colourful, romantic works, influenced by Franz Liszt and Richard Strauss but, at least in the Suite No.2 beginning to show the impact of Hungarian folk music on the young composer.

I picked these cds up in Budapest some years ago.

Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #70 on: January 13, 2009, 06:28:53 PM »
Yes, there might still be evidence of Bartok trying to find himself stylistically in these earlier works but none of them could be called patchwork pieces.

I never said that the sonatas are "patchwork pieces". I mean, the disjointedness is obviously by design, but to me those works represent one last failed attempt at creating a uniquely distinctive voice (one of many if you follow his career up to this point), before settling for his mature style starting with the Piano Sonata, or the 3rd String Quartet. They are complex and well crafted compositions, but in a way they can still be seen as workshop material.  

Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #71 on: January 13, 2009, 06:29:54 PM »
I wonder how many of you are familiar with these early Bartok compositions?

I have a complete edition of his works. Nothing in his career escapes me. That said, i would argue his first truly significant pieces begin with the bagatelles of 1908.

Bu

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #72 on: January 13, 2009, 07:08:48 PM »
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

Same here, too, and 'tis still the version I return to the most, despite the cut. Haven't heard another conductor give a finer interpreation (have Reiner & Bernstein in my collection).

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #73 on: January 13, 2009, 08:47:18 PM »
I wonder how many of you are familiar with these early Bartok compositions? Rich, colourful, romantic works, influenced by Franz Liszt and Richard Strauss but, at least in the Suite No.2 beginning to show the impact of Hungarian folk music on the young composer.

I picked these cds up in Budapest some years ago.

I have Kossuth but I admit I don't know it as well as other Bartok. It definitely has youthful zeal on its side, and lots of fanfares. One thing's for certain, if ever Bartok wanted to be a romanticist it's obvious he had the tools for it.

 
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 Josquin des Prez

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #74 on: January 13, 2009, 09:33:48 PM »
if ever Bartok wanted to be a romanticist it's obvious he had the tools for it.

Of course. He was a genius, and genius is universal, as i said many times.

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #75 on: January 13, 2009, 10:11:35 PM »
Of course. He was a genius, and genius is universal, as i said many times.

?


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

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #76 on: January 13, 2009, 10:40:26 PM »
Bartok: Solo Violin Sonata, 3rd Mvt. ("Melodia")

Ivry Gitlis, violin

James, thanks for the video. Gitlis is masterly.

On disc I have Mullova (Philips) and Osostowicz (Helios). Mullova works the piece for all its expressive worth.


« Last Edit: January 13, 2009, 10:42:33 PM by donwyn »
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

Drasko

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #77 on: January 14, 2009, 08:18:13 AM »
Anyone familiar with this? (13 euros for 4 CDs on current MDT Supraphon offer).


http://www.supraphon.com/en/catalogue/on-line-database/detail/?idtitulu=2013310

Offline not edward

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #78 on: January 14, 2009, 01:10:27 PM »
I haven't heard anything else of it, but the 2nd concerto with Ancerl is superb.
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
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Offline Nick

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Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
« Reply #79 on: May 04, 2009, 06:10:15 AM »
I admire much of Bartok's music a great deal although there's a quarter of his output that I'm not familiar with yet. The first work of his I ever really knew was Duke Bluebeard's Castle, and it's still my favorite Bartok work and one of my favorite pieces of music. Still, there are many wonderful pieces of his.

For me, I have somewhat of a reservation about a lot of his music, and it came to me especially when I was listening through the complete solo piano music. To my taste, a lot of the folk-inspired or folk-tune music doesn't rise up beyond a ditty. There's a simple seven note phrase and then a seven note response, and that's the melody, and a lot of the time there isn't any kind of rhythmic interest to support it. Sometimes, this can be charming, but other times it isn't to my taste.