GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: facehugger on April 06, 2007, 01:41:35 PM

Title: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: facehugger on April 06, 2007, 01:41:35 PM
a sexy sexy man, with sexy sexy music

string quartets rule. all of them. especially the third.

discuss him here

 :)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mark G. Simon on April 07, 2007, 04:53:30 AM
The ultimate Contrasts recording is here:

(http://ec2.images-amazon.com/images/P/B000F9RL8A.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_SS400_.jpg)

The cover says "Violin works", but clarinetist Ricardo Morales is so incredibly HOT in Contrasts, this is what really makes the disc.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Guido on April 08, 2007, 02:57:36 AM
The string quartets are all brilliant of course. I'm very fond of the concertos too (especially the viola concerto, even if it is the weakest...), and the two rhapsodies for violin and orchestra (which are even better on the cello!).
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning on April 12, 2007, 09:22:02 AM
. . . and the two rhapsodies for violin and orchestra (which are even better on the cello!).

Heterodoxy!!  8)

Actually, I think I've got one of the 'cello rhapsodies' on disc . . . .
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: pjme on April 12, 2007, 09:48:04 AM
I never get tired of Bela Bartok. From the early Richard Strauss / Debussy inspired works to the third pianoconcerto and violaconcerto: an intelligent, serious, masterly oeuvre.

The Cantata Profana can move me very deeply.

String quartet nr 4 is another challenging and always gripping work. Facehugger, I'll see if I can find on Youtube Rosas choreography of this quartet. it was entirely shot in Ghent University's Booktower - a late (1933) work of Henry Van de Velde.
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d5/Boekentoren_Gent_south-west.JPG/180px-Boekentoren_Gent_south-west.JPG)

From Rosas website :

In 1986 De Keersmaeker presented us with Bartók / Aantekeningen. It was her first piece to be based on a score by one of the great masters of modern classical music. Bela Bartók’s Fourth String Quartet provided the basis for the entire production, both structurally and emotionally. The composition consists of five parts whose arrangement one might define thus: A B C B_ A_, as if the mid-section C were enclosed by a large circle (A A_) and a smaller one (B B_). The performance adopts this structure too, but in addition to the choreography based on Bartók’s music, there are also De Keersmaeker’s aantekeningen (annotations). They comprise movements carried out in silence, additions in the form of text (from Peter Weiss’ Marat/Sade and Georg Büchner’s Lenz), fragments of film of children playing and car crashes, and miscellaneous sound material (Bulgarian folk singing, speeches by Lenin, Russian revolutionary songs, etc.). These heterogeneous elements are bound together by an ingenious structure so that the performance by no means appears as an assembly of separate fragments.

The four dancers act like naughty little girls; while at the same time there is an interplay as between chamber musicians in a string quartet. The parts are played by Fumiyo Ikeda, Nadine Ganase, Roxane Huilmand and, in alternation, Johanne Saunier and Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. So, in this piece the choreographer takes a step back from her own work for the first time, enabling her to view it from the outside. The emotions that dominate the performance fluctuate between dissonance (also a major theme in Bartók’s music) and aggression on the one hand and melancholy and purity on the other. And yet it comes across as significantly less heavy than Elena’s Aria, mainly because the whole piece is partly informed by a girlish humour and sensuality.

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: MishaK on April 12, 2007, 09:48:46 AM
Have you guys seen the "Beyond the Score" Miraculous Mandarin presentation video  (http://www.cso.org/main.taf?p=15,3) from the CSO website?
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Josquin des Prez on April 12, 2007, 03:56:31 PM
Everything Bartok wrote in his mature years is a masterpiece. He got a bit of a rough start though. I was listening to his early violin sonata in e minor (wrote when he was 22), and while it's a nicely crafted romantic piece (with a nice fugue tuck in the middle of it) it has many rough edges and is far from being a master work. It doesn't even remotely compare to Enescu's Octet (wrote at the age of 19. Both composers were born in the same year), yet, if i had to chose between the two i'd say Bartok definitely grew to be the greater master. Prodigies never seem to be all that after all (with the exception of Mozart)...
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Brewski on July 06, 2007, 06:38:11 AM
Have you guys seen the "Beyond the Score" Miraculous Mandarin presentation video  (http://www.cso.org/main.taf?p=15,3) from the CSO website?

I'm watching this right now -- terrific.  Thanks for posting this, since I would never have found it (most likely), and The Miraculous Mandarin is one of my alltime favorite works. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: quintett op.57 on July 07, 2007, 12:16:11 AM
What do you think about the Juilliard quartet box set?
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: johnshade on July 07, 2007, 03:08:24 AM
~
I have received hours of great pleasure and delight from Bartok's unique music since the 1950s. I have many recordings of practically all of his recorded works.

My favorites, I believe, are from Bartok's greatest period: Music for strings, percussion and celesta (Bernstein, Reiner), Sonata from 2 pianos and percussion ( Argerich, Ashkenazy) , and the 5th String Quarter (Emerson). These are probably well-liked by most Bartok aficionados.

(http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/514X6F42PCL._AA240_.jpg) (http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/4125K6869QL._AA240_.jpg) (http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/618H5PVG1GL._AA240_.jpg) (http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51BsGsHpkbL._AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Bonehelm on July 08, 2007, 12:46:22 PM
The Emersons' Bartok set is the best I've ever heard. And that's what a lot of critics say, too.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Todd on July 08, 2007, 12:50:18 PM
What do you think about the Juilliard quartet box set?


Which set?  They've recorded it three times.  I have the second and third, and the second one is superior in most regards, but I've heard the Fourth from the first cycle, and that may be the one to get.  I should probably revisit my to-buy list.

Overall, for the quartets, I prefer the Vegh stereo cycle (their mono cycle is also excellent), and the Takacs Quartet's second recording on Decca (haven't heard the earlier Hungaroton cycle yet).   
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: scottscheule on August 24, 2007, 09:54:52 AM
Listening to the Concerto for Orchestra now, and I'm struck by how talented the man's orchestration was--though I seldom hear his orchestration skills referred to (certainly not as often as Ravel's or Strauss's).
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning on August 24, 2007, 10:27:56 AM
I've always loved the CfO, Scott!
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: scottscheule on August 24, 2007, 10:56:14 AM
Heh, I remember first buying this album, when I wanted to listen to avant-garde music just to be cool.  The Concerto mystified me--I always skipped to the Fourth Movement and then turned it off. 

But many a listening has made it one of my favorite pieces.

We were recently talking about orchestration on some thread, and somebody posted Stravinsky saying that the best orchestration is such that you don't even think about it as orchestration.  I get that feeling from Bartok's orchestral work--the effect is rather like the orchestra being a single instrument, producing all those myriad sounds--effortlessly.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Szykneij on August 24, 2007, 10:57:59 AM
The cover says "Violin works", but clarinetist Ricardo Morales is so incredibly HOT in Contrasts, this is what really makes the disc.

I've recently been listening to some early Bartok and I've just discovered his Suite No. 2, Op. 4 which has a great bass clarinet solo in the third movement. The recording I have is by the Budapest Philharmonic playing the revised 1943 version. I'd like to pick up a recording of the original 1907 arrangement.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 24, 2008, 10:14:23 PM
Such an explosive work, the violin sonata - a fountain of ideas and color!

It's a work that seems to play to the strengths of Argerich. She's naturally volatile and plays with utter abandon here - yet never missteps even once. Harnessed power.

Kremer historically is more tempered, but here he's obviously swept up in the emotion of the moment and plunges head-first into the fracas.

It all adds up to spiky Bartok goodness.


(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51W7GYGP8AL._SS500_.jpg)

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 26, 2008, 05:37:22 PM
Such an explosive work, the violin sonata...

I should clarify: that's violin sonata No.1.


Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning on October 27, 2008, 03:16:06 AM
I should clarify: that's violin sonata No.1.

Yes, I'm still getting to differentiation between the two violin concerti, and the two violin sonatas . . . .
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: tjguitar on October 27, 2008, 04:30:53 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?
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning 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:

(http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/non-muze/full/92086.jpg)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: M forever 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.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: jowcol 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".

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Bu 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  ::)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning 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.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Diletante 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...  :(
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning 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.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Ugh! 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.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning on December 29, 2008, 03:42:00 PM
. . . and if you are looking for fury: The Miraculous Mandarin.

Very much enjoying Doráti & the Beeb at the moment. (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,9.msg258448.html#msg258448)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: vandermolen 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?
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: stress.in.jaw 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
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning 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 . . . .
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: stress.in.jaw 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.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning 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.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Guido 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.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Dundonnell 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.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning 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.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning on January 02, 2009, 09:45:15 AM
There are little harp 'plinks' in the Introduzione that melt me.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning on January 02, 2009, 09:46:29 AM
Mercy, and that majestic brass fugato.  This is music I should be proud to have written.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Dundonnell on January 02, 2009, 09:48:29 AM
So you like it then?
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning on January 02, 2009, 10:03:05 AM
Oh, quite a bit, really.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Josquin des Prez 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.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Josquin des Prez 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.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: stress.in.jaw 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 :)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Sergeant Rock 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
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Sergeant Rock 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
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian 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:


(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51%2B3NQDqdIL._SS500_.jpg)


Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning 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).
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning 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 . . . .
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Sergeant Rock 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
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Dundonnell 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).
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Todd 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.

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/4761833.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: George 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.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Diletante 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.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning on January 12, 2009, 09:01:16 AM
What's the m-word? Modernist?

"m@verick"
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Drasko 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.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41G5Y0HQNAL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Sonata for two pianos & percussion
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning on January 12, 2009, 09:22:19 AM
!!!
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian 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...


Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian 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.

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian 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.

 
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning 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  :)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning 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 . . . .
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Josquin des Prez 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.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian 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.

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning 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.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 13, 2009, 06:04:19 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41G5Y0HQNAL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Sonata for two pianos & percussion

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

Sarge
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: George on January 13, 2009, 06:05:40 PM
:)

You have a PM. :)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian 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.

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on January 13, 2009, 06:15:08 PM
You have a PM. :)

 :)

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Dundonnell 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.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Josquin des Prez 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.  
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Josquin des Prez 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.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Bu 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).
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian 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.

 
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Josquin des Prez 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.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on January 13, 2009, 10:11:35 PM
Of course. He was a genius, and genius is universal, as i said many times.

?


Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian 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.

(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/ac/ea/e899228348a0d9ccb7b94110.L.jpg)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Drasko 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/!img_katalog/SU3924_2_xl.gif)
http://www.supraphon.com/en/catalogue/on-line-database/detail/?idtitulu=2013310
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: not edward on January 14, 2009, 01:10:27 PM
I haven't heard anything else of it, but the 2nd concerto with Ancerl is superb.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Nick 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.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Guido on May 05, 2009, 03:34:54 PM
Oh my god - just heard bartok's Divertimento for strings for the first time - what a score! Perfection!!  ;D ;D  :-*

I find that I much prefer Bartok that is more raw and explicity folk inspired than some of his more dryer, more formal sounding pieces are - this piece, the violin rhapsodies, string quartets, Viola concerto are my faves - desert island music for me all. The music for strings, percussion and celesta I like but don't love, same with the piano concertos, and quite why the concerto for orchestra (his dullest piece?  :o) gets so many outings is completely beyond me when there are so many other fantastic works by him. Of course Bluebeard's Castle is another favourite of mine... maybe my most favourite opera of all...
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning on May 06, 2009, 04:29:23 AM
. . . Of course Bluebeard's Castle is another favourite of mine... maybe my most favourite opera of all...

Some words on that very opera. (http://dansemacabre.art.officelive.com/bluebeardscastle.aspx)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Daverz on May 06, 2009, 07:10:59 PM
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.

If you're talking about the Mikrokosmos, it was written as graded exercises for piano students.  For students they are really a breathe of fresh air compared to the usual exercises.  But I think only the more advanced of them may rise to the level of concert pieces.  The same is true of the 44 Duos for Violins.



Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Nick on May 07, 2009, 06:06:28 AM
A lot of the Mikrokosmos is like that, to me. But then there are pieces in the Mikrokosmos that I like a lot.

In particular, For Children and First Term at the Piano don't really do it for me although to me this quality exists in some of the other piano music as well. Among other major solo piano works, the Rhapsody is no favorite here though I consider this to be akin to Stravinsky's Sonata in F sharp minor or Prokofiev's Sonata for Piano No. 1, Op. 1.

Still, a lot of his solo piano music like Out of Doors, Four Dirges, Piano Sonata, etc. is brilliant to me, and there is much of the solo piano music that I do like.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Nick on May 07, 2009, 07:20:52 AM
It's somewhat surprising to me how much a lot of early Prokofiev piano music sounds like Bartok's. Many of the works in Prokofiev's Four Pieces, Op. 3; Four Pieces, Op. 4; Ten Pieces, Op. 12; and Sarcasms, Op. 17 especially sound like Bartok's solo piano music in many respects.

It's all the more remarkable when you consider that Bartok and Prokofiev rubbed off on each other not a bit. Peter Laki couldn't recall if they'd met each other, and I don't recall Harlow Robinson mentioning any particular influence of one on the other.

This is kind of why I find this business of talking about "which composer is more influential" and "who influenced who more" to be kind of silly. Tracking innovations and ideas chronologically to see who came up with what when is foolish when you consider that composers often went the ways they did irrespective of others. And maybe they had the same responses to something much much earlier. It seems like there are better ways to value and appreciate music.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning on May 31, 2009, 01:31:35 PM
It's all the more remarkable when you consider that Bartok and Prokofiev rubbed off on each other not a bit. Peter Laki couldn't recall if they'd met each other, and I don't recall Harlow Robinson mentioning any particular influence of one on the other.

It just doesn't seem that they ever moved in the same circles, not at the same time.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning on July 07, 2009, 02:54:27 AM
. . . I'm very fond of the concertos too (especially the viola concerto, even if it is the weakest...)

I doubt it would have been, if the composer had had time to finish it to his own liking.  That's a piece I need to get to know better, 'struth.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Nick on July 07, 2009, 11:21:18 AM
This is the Bartok solo piano music I'm most drawn to. There's no order here. I really enjoy these.

Three Burlesques, BB 55; Three Studies, BB 81; Four Studies, BB 58; Piano Sonata, BB 88; Out of Doors, BB 89; Two Elegies, BB 49; Suite, BB 70; Three Hungarian Folk Songs from the Csik District, BB 45b; Fourteen Bagatelles, BB 50, and much of the other music.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: DavidW on July 08, 2009, 06:57:59 AM
Thanks James for sharing that, it's such beautiful music! :)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning on July 09, 2009, 02:23:15 AM
The Contrasts is les genoux de l'abeille!
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Franco on October 23, 2009, 10:59:38 AM
I'm going to bump this thread a bit because I was listening today to the Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, Gyorgy Sandor & Co. (my only recording) and was hoping to find other recs. - there were a couple, Kocsis and Argerich, but if anyone has a rave suggestion by others, I'd be interested in hearing about it (Arkiv lists 22 recordings). 

Also if anyone has heard Bartok's own recording of this work, tell me about it.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Brewski on October 23, 2009, 11:35:07 AM
The only one I have is with Argerich and Kovacevich on Phillips (in its original issue) which I like, but I'd be interested in other recommendations as well.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: (: premont :) on October 24, 2009, 10:50:17 AM
I'm going to bump this thread a bit because I was listening today to the Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, Gyorgy Sandor & Co. (my only recording)
Also if anyone has heard Bartok's own recording of this work, tell me about it.

I own the Sandor/Reinhardt recording and the Bartok/Bartok recording. I always have preferred the former, which I find very authoritative and exciting. And I like the dark hue of the sound and the close miking. Of course the sound is dated (ca 1960), but the sound of the Bartok x 2 recording is dated too. I have not listened to this but twice (a long time ago), and it did not do much for me.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Guido on November 08, 2009, 04:55:56 PM
I absolutely adore Bluebeard's Castle (which I am seeing staged on Thursday) and know the story well, but what is Bartok trying to tell us? The prologue tells us that this could be interpreted as being all in the mind - how does this make sense?

Theories and suggestions please, Ladies and Gentlemen!
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Guido on November 15, 2009, 10:10:33 AM
An astonishing ENO production, so so dark. It's set in Joseph Fritzl's basement (or something like it) - fantastic staging, great singing and the orchestra are just superb - equally so in the staged ballet of the Rite of Spring that followed 9which was great fun!)

I am absolutely astonished that Bartok was just 21 when he wrote this. How is that possible?
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Wendell_E on November 15, 2009, 11:35:11 AM
I am absolutely astonished that Bartok was just 21 when he wrote [Bluebeard's Castle]. How is that possible?

Because he was actually 30?   :D
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Guido on November 15, 2009, 04:37:30 PM
Ah, haha, phew! I was ready to give up any artistic pursuit whatsoever. The programme had his birthday printed as 1890.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Novi on November 16, 2009, 12:34:22 PM
I absolutely adore Bluebeard's Castle (which I am seeing staged on Thursday) and know the story well, but what is Bartok trying to tell us? The prologue tells us that this could be interpreted as being all in the mind - how does this make sense?

Theories and suggestions please, Ladies and Gentlemen!

Bluebeard's Castle – the opera in which nothing happens, seven times (to paraphrase a Beckett critic). :P Silliness aside, I do like it very much but have often wondered how one would go about staging something so static. The drama is psychological rather than action-driven, so for me, it’s a question of how to make a fully staged production sufficiently different from a concert performance.

I think the Prologue (deliberately and suggestively) equivocates between the 'within? without?' but it sounds like the ENO production gestured more towards the 'without' with the nod to Fritzl-esque horrors. I've never really thought about this issue; perhaps 'within' in terms of a psychological exploration of desire. Not sure...
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Guido on November 16, 2009, 06:23:49 PM
Bluebeard's Castle – the opera in which nothing happens, seven times (to paraphrase a Beckett critic). :P Silliness aside, I do like it very much but have often wondered how one would go about staging something so static. The drama is psychological rather than action-driven, so for me, it’s a question of how to make a fully staged production sufficiently different from a concert performance.

I think the Prologue (deliberately and suggestively) equivocates between the 'within? without?' but it sounds like the ENO production gestured more towards the 'without' with the nod to Fritzl-esque horrors. I've never really thought about this issue; perhaps 'within' in terms of a psychological exploration of desire. Not sure...

Nothing much happens physically, but the drama derives from the interaction of the characters, Judith becoming ever more shocked by her Husband's hidden aspects (with him internal/external are the same). I didn't feel bored once (how could one with such beautiful music!) It's actually a strength of the opera that it is so focussed on character and not situation. The ENO production very cleverly combined both "within" and "without", as surely all good productions of the opera must. Can't recommend it enough.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Brewski on January 28, 2010, 02:05:59 PM
Alex Ross has posted a link (http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/alexross/2010/01/bartoks-folk.html) to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, which has digitized Bartók's folk music collection and put it online.  He also offers tips on using the Academy's search engine.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Scarpia on July 09, 2010, 07:19:57 PM
Just listened to a miraculous, relatively unknown piece by Bartok, "Two Portraits."

There is a fine recording on this release:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61RPnaidD9L._AA300_.jpg)

It begins with a solo violin and at first develops like chamber music, with individual players from the violin section gradually entering.  Finally the full orchestra gets involved and there are a series of velvety dissonant harmonies, which remind me of the opening of the first string quartet.  This "ideal" portrait is followed by a "distorted" one in which the same basic motifs are used to construct a grotesque sort of waltz.  Wonderful stuff!
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 22, 2010, 08:04:54 PM
One of my favorite Bartok recordings is this one:
 
(http://www.iclassics.com/images/local/300/263E.jpg)
 
But I'm a sucker for Boulez or Solti in Bartok's orchestral music. Fischer and Dutoit are also quite good Bartok conductors in my opinion.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: kentel on August 24, 2010, 11:56:21 AM
I reheard Bartok's 1st string quartet yesterday (after a break of more than 10 years...) and noticed something quite curious : the main theme of the 3rd mvt is the same than a theme from the 1st mvt of Schoenberg's Transfigured Night. Maybe the fact is well-known by the exegetes (of which I am not). I wonder if it is a reminiscence or a quote.

Here are the facts :

Bartok' String Quartet nr.1 (1909); this is the very first theme, which is heard throughout all the mvt afterwards.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Um17Qo70NIQ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Um17Qo70NIQ)

Schoenberg's Transfigured Night (1899), in this video the theme begins at 3'55"; it is heard twice at the viola section. This is the single occurence of this theme in the whole piece.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEhzSLTrceI&feature=related (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEhzSLTrceI&feature=related)

--Gilles
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning on August 25, 2010, 02:52:29 AM
I reheard Bartok's 1st string quartet yesterday (after a break of more than 10 years...) and noticed something quite curious : the main theme of the 3rd mvt is the same than a theme from the 1st mvt of Schoenberg's Transfigured Night. Maybe the fact is well-known by the exegetes (of which I am not). I wonder if it is a reminiscence or a quote.

Fascinating find, Gilles! (And welcome to GMG, by the way! . . . not sure if I joined in the welcome committee.)

It would be interesting to dig up a performance history of Verklärte Nacht . . . the group that Schoenberg presented it to refused to play it (famously because of a single "uncatalogued dissonance").  Offhand, I don't know how soon he managed to get the work performed (I've got the New Grove's Second Viennese School reprint at home, at least the première info will be there).  My wild guess at present is that in fact Bartók may not have had any occasion to know the Schoenberg Opus 4.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: kentel on August 25, 2010, 12:17:55 PM
Fascinating find, Gilles! (And welcome to GMG, by the way! . . . not sure if I joined in the welcome committee.)

It would be interesting to dig up a performance history of Verklärte Nacht . . . the group that Schoenberg presented it to refused to play it (famously because of a single "uncatalogued dissonance").  Offhand, I don't know how soon he managed to get the work performed (I've got the New Grove's Second Viennese School reprint at home, at least the première info will be there).  My wild guess at present is that in fact Bartók may not have had any occasion to know the Schoenberg Opus 4.


Hi Karl

Thank you for your answer ! I didn't think of this detail, but you're right, Bartok might have not heard the Transfigured Night, and it would be interesting to find out...

However, he was a teacher at the Royal Academy of Music in Budapest when he composed the 1st String Quartet. Schoenberg's piece was created in Vienna in 1902. At this time, Austria and Hungary were a single country. Moreover the two cities are geographically and culturally quite close to each other, thus I would bet that Bartok had heard the piece. But I'm looking forward to hear more about it after you've checked the Grove :)

(And welcome to GMG, by the way! . . . not sure if I joined in the welcome committee.)

Actually you did !! :)

--Gilles
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning on November 02, 2010, 10:27:15 AM
TTT
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 02, 2010, 12:10:38 PM
TTT

To the top? Yes, it is time.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: just Jeff on November 15, 2010, 12:20:36 AM
The Vegh Quartet recorded the SQs twice.  The 70s stereo recordings get top marks, a Grand Prix Du Disque award winner. 

The Takacs Quartet recorded them twice, once for Hungaroton (considered lackluster), and later for Decca, considered a first rate top performance flawed by excessive reverb in the recording.

German copy of the Vegh's 70s stereo recordings pictured below.  This set is available on CD with a different cover.  Might be the one I like best at the moment.

(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af80/hiptone/LP%20covers_labels/BARTOKBOXFT.jpg)
(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af80/hiptone/LP%20covers_labels/BARTOKBOXBK.jpg)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 18, 2011, 01:00:38 PM
Has anyone heard this recording of Bluebeard's Castle?



It has received mixed reviews on Amazon. I'm not sure about other sites. It seems to me that this opera is so hard to get right. Since there are only two vocalists, the performances have to be in-tune with the other on such an intense level. It definitely requires remarkable virtuosity from both vocalists. The conductor and orchestra also have to be on the same page providing communicative support to the two lead roles. In an opera like this, it would be easy for everything to just fall apart.
Title: Complexity vs. simplicity in Bartok's music
Post by: Sid on January 18, 2011, 04:59:40 PM
I think that Bartok's best works are his chamber works, as they have a level of complexity not readily found in his other works. I have just finished reading Colin Wilson's book "Chords & Discords" written in the 1960's, and in it he says that the tragedy of Bartok was that his music was too easy to understand. After a few listens to his music, the listener may lose interest, as Bartok's is a very direct style & not as complex as some other composers of the c20th (I'd apply this to his more popular orchestral works). Certainly, my own experience has kind of borne this out. I got to know many of his orchestral works about 20 years ago, and I hardly listen to them now. I have recently acquired the string quartets (played by the ABQ on EMI), and want to devote some time to understanding them more than just the casual one or two listens. I think that these works, as well as his other chamber works (the violin sonatas and especially the solo violin sonata which apparently uses microtones) are closer in complexity to composers like Schoenberg & Carter, and therefore can offer more rewards to me with repeated listening. If chamber includes solo piano, I'd include Mikrokosmos as well. I certainly don't agree with everything that Wilson said about Bartok in his book (he kind of does a psycho-biography of each composer which does get a bit irritating), but I do agree with him on the point he made that all of Bartok's works generally known to the public are a little too easily digestible after a few listens.

The Takacs Quartet is coming to Sydney this year to perform the whole Bartok cycle. I'll try to go, if I can scrape enough money together, or I might just go to one of their two concerts...
Title: Re: Complexity vs. simplicity in Bartok's music
Post by: Mirror Image on January 18, 2011, 06:28:48 PM
I think that Bartok's best works are his chamber works, as they have a level of complexity not readily found in his other works. I have just finished reading Colin Wilson's book "Chords & Discords" written in the 1960's, and in it he says that the tragedy of Bartok was that his music was too easy to understand. After a few listens to his music, the listener may lose interest, as Bartok's is a very direct style & not as complex as some other composers of the c20th (I'd apply this to his more popular orchestral works). Certainly, my own experience has kind of borne this out. I got to know many of his orchestral works about 20 years ago, and I hardly listen to them now. I have recently acquired the string quartets (played by the ABQ on EMI), and want to devote some time to understanding them more than just the casual one or two listens. I think that these works, as well as his other chamber works (the violin sonatas and especially the solo violin sonata which apparently uses microtones) are closer in complexity to composers like Schoenberg & Carter, and therefore can offer more rewards to me with repeated listening. If chamber includes solo piano, I'd include Mikrokosmos as well. I certainly don't agree with everything that Wilson said about Bartok in his book (he kind of does a psycho-biography of each composer which does get a bit irritating), but I do agree with him on the point he made that all of Bartok's works generally known to the public are a little too easily digestible after a few listens.

The Takacs Quartet is coming to Sydney this year to perform the whole Bartok cycle. I'll try to go, if I can scrape enough money together, or I might just go to one of their two concerts...

Have you heard Bluebeard's Castle, Sid? This is one of the best operas of the 20th Century I have heard so far. It is definitely worthy of the high praise it receives. Have you fully examined, as I have, Bartok's full range as a composer of orchestral music? I know you have a fondness for chamber music, but the chamber works are only a piece of the puzzle. He wrote a lot of great music. Whether something is complex or not, doesn't mean anything to me. The music either moves you or it doesn't.


I say if you're going to dismiss his orchestral works based purely on the fact that they're "not complex enough," then you certainly haven't heard much.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Sid on January 18, 2011, 07:17:57 PM
I have heard Bluebeard's Castle, it's an interesting (if atypical) work of Bartok's. I was talking more about the works practically everybody into classical music knows, such as the Concerto for Orchestra, the Music for Strings, Percussion & Celesta (these I was fortunate enough to see recently, so don't get me wrong, I like them very much), the piano concertos, & Divertimento for Strings. These are not difficult works to understand by any stretch of the imagination (after maybe a handful of considered listenings). I wouldn't necessarily include the 2nd violin concerto, not because it is not as popular, but because it is more complex (Yehudi Menuhin wrote that Bartok told him how he was using the 12 note method in a tonal way, especially in the intricate theme and variations which constitutes the slow middle movement). I wasn't saying complexity is better than simplicity. I was basically suggesting that his more complex works tend to repay repeated listening more. If you are interested in Colin Wilson's opinions (& yes, take them with a fairly large grain of salt), his book Chords & Discords: purely personal opinions on music is on google books, including the 4th chapter, somewhat ominiously titled "The tragedy of Bartok" (it's not too long, but I don't like how he tries to paint a kind of psycho-biographical picture of the composer based on someone else's memoirs, since Wilson never met Bartok). Hope the link below works. The book also includes a chapter on Delius, which you might be more interested in. I'd be interested to read what you think of Wilson's assessment of Bartok, in any case...

http://books.google.com.au/books?id=tUsiMS_iPOIC&printsec=frontcover&dq=colin+wilson+chords+and+discords&hl=en&ei=2VQ2TcunG4rCvQPsvonAAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 18, 2011, 07:36:01 PM
I have heard Bluebeard's Castle, it's an interesting (if atypical) work of Bartok's. I was talking more about the works practically everybody into classical music knows, such as the Concerto for Orchestra, the Music for Strings, Percussion & Celesta (these I was fortunate enough to see recently, so don't get me wrong, I like them very much), the piano concertos, & Divertimento for Strings. These are not difficult works to understand by any stretch of the imagination (after maybe a handful of considered listenings). I wouldn't necessarily include the 2nd violin concerto, not because it is not as popular, but because it is more complex (Yehudi Menuhin wrote that Bartok told him how he was using the 12 note method in a tonal way, especially in the intricate theme and variations which constitutes the slow middle movement). I wasn't saying complexity is better than simplicity. I was basically suggesting that his more complex works tend to repay repeated listening more. If you are interested in Colin Wilson's opinions (& yes, take them with a fairly large grain of salt), his book Chords & Discords: purely personal opinions on music is on google books, including the 4th chapter, somewhat ominiously titled "The tragedy of Bartok" (it's not too long, but I don't like how he tries to paint a kind of psycho-biographical picture of the composer based on someone else's memoirs, since Wilson never met Bartok). Hope the link below works. I'd be interested to read what you think of Wilson's assessment of Bartok...

http://books.google.com.au/books?id=tUsiMS_iPOIC&printsec=frontcover&dq=colin+wilson+chords+and+discords&hl=en&ei=2VQ2TcunG4rCvQPsvonAAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false (http://books.google.com.au/books?id=tUsiMS_iPOIC&printsec=frontcover&dq=colin+wilson+chords+and+discords&hl=en&ei=2VQ2TcunG4rCvQPsvonAAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false)


I have heard Concerto for Orchestra so many times (I'm not even sure how many times I've heard it) and I still don't understand it. It is one of those Bartok works that I'm still trying to wrap my head around. There is something about this work that just doesn't click with me. Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta is a pretty accessible work, but I wouldn't say Divertimento is that accessible as it contains a lot of dissonance. The Wooden Prince is accessible. The Miraculous Mandarin is a brutally dissonant work, which I love through and through. His concerti are also not so easy to grasp for an average listener. Two Portraits has been a recent discovery of mine that I overlooked. I'm not sure if you've heard this one or not, but it's a work for violin and orchestra and the first movement alone is a miniature masterpiece I think. I do enjoy the string quartets. These aren't as difficult to grasp as many would have you to believe, but they are certainly jagged, angular, almost completely atonal, but the high level of dissonance shouldn't be new to anyone, especially coming from a heavy diet of 20th Century music. There's a lot of complexity in Bartok's music, but what makes him a major composer, in my view, is the way he was able to mask the more difficult passages with cutthroat rhythms and folkloric lyricism. But I think we would both agree that if somebody wants to get into Bartok then they're going to have to hear his string quartets at some point, because they are some of the best written in the 20th Century, but maybe I'm just being a little biased here. ;)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 19, 2011, 10:06:12 PM
Getting back to the topic of Gergiev's recording of Bluebeard's Castle, has anyone heard it? I read many negative reviews about it. Of course, UK-based classical affiliations "loved" it, but I would like to hear from real Bartok fans who have heard this recording and know this opera (and it's recordings) well.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning on January 20, 2011, 08:36:27 AM
I haven't heard the Gergiev recording.  Here (http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/2011/01/both-kinds-opera-and-opera-oratorio.html) is my review of the recent concert performance in Boston.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 24, 2011, 09:55:05 PM
I haven't heard the Gergiev recording.  Here (http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/2011/01/both-kinds-opera-and-opera-oratorio.html) is my review of the recent concert performance in Boston.

Sorry for the late reply, Karl, but I have just finished reading your concert review and I'm jealous that you received such a thrilling performance. I did, however, buy the Gergiev recording I mentioned above, so I'll report back once I've heard it.

So far I have three excellent recordings of Bluebeard's Castle:

-Kertesz, Christa Ludwig, Walter Berry, LSO, Decca
-Eotvos, Cornelia Kallisch, Peter Fried, SWR Radio Symphony Orch., Hanssler Classic
-Boulez, Jessye Norman, Laszlo Polgar, CSO, DG

The dark horse of the three that I own so far is the Eotvos. This is unbelievably good performance. Both vocalists, whom were both unknown to me, have the right weight in their voices for their roles. Cornelia Kallisch, in particular, has a beautiful voice. Peter Fried sung a fantastic Bluebeard and, so far, is one of the best ones I've heard since Berry. The orchestral accompaniment from Eotvos and the SWR Orchestra will leave you breathless. Although this performance didn't get a lot of press, for whatever reason, I think it gives the classic Kertesz a run for its money.

Tonight I bought two more recordings of Bluebeard:

-Fischer, Eva Marton, Samuel Ramey, Hungarian State Orch., Sony
-Gergiev, Elena Zhidkova, Willard White, LSO Live
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Brahmsian on January 30, 2011, 12:05:33 PM
Does anyone own and can comment on the Bartok Complete Edition on Hungaroton Classic?  Although, at the price, I suspect not many do.  :D  Sure looks nice though.  I would love to hear all the Hungarian peasant songs, all the little bits of Bartok that are less well known.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51JtOK6D9XL._SS500_.jpg)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Daverz on January 30, 2011, 12:48:14 PM
Getting back to the topic of Gergiev's recording of Bluebeard's Castle, has anyone heard it? I read many negative reviews about it. Of course, UK-based classical affiliations "loved" it, but I would like to hear from real Bartok fans who have heard this recording and know this opera (and it's recordings) well.

It got a good review from James North in Fanfare: "to complement my three previous favorites: Eötvös, Kertész, and Fricsay."

I really trust Robert Levine at Classicstoday.com (http://classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=12378).  He seems a very authoritative opera critc, but that may be because I'm not that experienced with opera.

"But something is amiss; the opera does not have the effect it does when we hear a great performance.
[...]
Newcomers will not notice anything wrong with this performance, but those of us who know and love the opera will stick to Kertesz (Decca) or Fischer (Sony) for its full emotional, as well as musical, impact."

Hey, those are the two recordings I happen to have!  Robert Levine is fucking brilliant!
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: mjwal on January 30, 2011, 12:50:57 PM
Two Portraits has been a recent discovery of mine that I overlooked. I'm not sure if you've heard this one or not, but it's a work for violin and orchestra and the first movement alone is a miniature masterpiece I think.

The first of the Two portraits Op.5, "Une idéale" is of course the 1st movement of the Violin Concerto #1 (the original Op.5) modified very little, I believe, which Bartók had dedicated to Steffi Geyer but was never performed in his lifetime; he re-used it in the 2 P  to get a hearing, and Szigeti recorded it with Constant Lambert, the performance of choice for me.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: RJR on February 12, 2011, 07:33:01 PM
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.
For the piano music give Andras Schiff a go.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: RJR on February 12, 2011, 07:41:23 PM
It just doesn't seem that they ever moved in the same circles, not at the same time.
Right. Prokofiev was wowing them in Paris and Bartok and Kodaly were roaming the countryside in Transylvania, recording folk songs.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: RJR on February 12, 2011, 07:49:51 PM
I have heard Bluebeard's Castle, it's an interesting (if atypical) work of Bartok's. I was talking more about the works practically everybody into classical music knows, such as the Concerto for Orchestra, the Music for Strings, Percussion & Celesta (these I was fortunate enough to see recently, so don't get me wrong, I like them very much), the piano concertos, & Divertimento for Strings. These are not difficult works to understand by any stretch of the imagination (after maybe a handful of considered listenings). I wouldn't necessarily include the 2nd violin concerto, not because it is not as popular, but because it is more complex (Yehudi Menuhin wrote that Bartok told him how he was using the 12 note method in a tonal way, especially in the intricate theme and variations which constitutes the slow middle movement). I wasn't saying complexity is better than simplicity. I was basically suggesting that his more complex works tend to repay repeated listening more. If you are interested in Colin Wilson's opinions (& yes, take them with a fairly large grain of salt), his book Chords & Discords: purely personal opinions on music is on google books, including the 4th chapter, somewhat ominiously titled "The tragedy of Bartok" (it's not too long, but I don't like how he tries to paint a kind of psycho-biographical picture of the composer based on someone else's memoirs, since Wilson never met Bartok). Hope the link below works. The book also includes a chapter on Delius, which you might be more interested in. I'd be interested to read what you think of Wilson's assessment of Bartok, in any case...

http://books.google.com.au/books?id=tUsiMS_iPOIC&printsec=frontcover&dq=colin+wilson+chords+and+discords&hl=en&ei=2VQ2TcunG4rCvQPsvonAAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false
Is that the book that Colin Wilson wrote after he made a lot of money and bought hundreds of records? The title of my Colin Wilson book was Colin Wilson on Music. He states somewhere in this book that Wagner was a minor composer and Richard Strauss was a major composer. I wish I had kept that book, I'd like to reread it forty years later. Compare notes.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: RJR on February 12, 2011, 08:15:51 PM
I have heard Bluebeard's Castle, it's an interesting (if atypical) work of Bartok's. I was talking more about the works practically everybody into classical music knows, such as the Concerto for Orchestra, the Music for Strings, Percussion & Celesta (these I was fortunate enough to see recently, so don't get me wrong, I like them very much), the piano concertos, & Divertimento for Strings. These are not difficult works to understand by any stretch of the imagination (after maybe a handful of considered listenings). I wouldn't necessarily include the 2nd violin concerto, not because it is not as popular, but because it is more complex (Yehudi Menuhin wrote that Bartok told him how he was using the 12 note method in a tonal way, especially in the intricate theme and variations which constitutes the slow middle movement). I wasn't saying complexity is better than simplicity. I was basically suggesting that his more complex works tend to repay repeated listening more. If you are interested in Colin Wilson's opinions (& yes, take them with a fairly large grain of salt), his book Chords & Discords: purely personal opinions on music is on google books, including the 4th chapter, somewhat ominiously titled "The tragedy of Bartok" (it's not too long, but I don't like how he tries to paint a kind of psycho-biographical picture of the composer based on someone else's memoirs, since Wilson never met Bartok). Hope the link below works. The book also includes a chapter on Delius, which you might be more interested in. I'd be interested to read what you think of Wilson's assessment of Bartok, in any case...

http://books.google.com.au/books?id=tUsiMS_iPOIC&printsec=frontcover&dq=colin+wilson+chords+and+discords&hl=en&ei=2VQ2TcunG4rCvQPsvonAAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false
I also remember Colin Wilson criticizing some of Bartok's personal eccentricities. Something about a rug being sent to him from his homeland. It didn't smell right. Mr. Wilson found that very strange. Maybe it was. What did that have to do with Bartok's music? He became the darling of the literary crowd practically overnight so his publisher decided to capitalize on his sudden popularity and asked him to write this book. After a year's listening to hundreds of records and reading dozens of book-or should I say cramming-he suddenly thinks he's a music critic, and a knowledgable one at that. Not just a critic of classical music, but jazz as well. Thanks for the memories.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: RJR on February 12, 2011, 08:19:31 PM

I have heard Concerto for Orchestra so many times (I'm not even sure how many times I've heard it) and I still don't understand it. It is one of those Bartok works that I'm still trying to wrap my head around. There is something about this work that just doesn't click with me. Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta is a pretty accessible work, but I wouldn't say Divertimento is that accessible as it contains a lot of dissonance. The Wooden Prince is accessible. The Miraculous Mandarin is a brutally dissonant work, which I love through and through. His concerti are also not so easy to grasp for an average listener. Two Portraits has been a recent discovery of mine that I overlooked. I'm not sure if you've heard this one or not, but it's a work for violin and orchestra and the first movement alone is a miniature masterpiece I think. I do enjoy the string quartets. These aren't as difficult to grasp as many would have you to believe, but they are certainly jagged, angular, almost completely atonal, but the high level of dissonance shouldn't be new to anyone, especially coming from a heavy diet of 20th Century music. There's a lot of complexity in Bartok's music, but what makes him a major composer, in my view, is the way he was able to mask the more difficult passages with cutthroat rhythms and folkloric lyricism. But I think we would both agree that if somebody wants to get into Bartok then they're going to have to hear his string quartets at some point, because they are some of the best written in the 20th Century, but maybe I'm just being a little biased here. ;)
You might understand the Concerto for Orchestra even less when I tell you that he wrote the last movement first. There's a very good book that just came out several years ago about this work. Worth a read.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 13, 2011, 07:56:09 AM
You might understand the Concerto for Orchestra even less when I tell you that he wrote the last movement first. There's a very good book that just came out several years ago about this work. Worth a read.

Yes, I've read a lot about this work, but it still confuses me. I'm coming around to it though. Step-by-step, day-by-day I'm making progress. This is the only major work by Bartok that I have had some kind of problem with emotionally and intellectually.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: snyprrr on February 13, 2011, 08:18:58 AM
I'd like to get into BB's Piano Music. The library has the Fischer?? five cd set,... I've listened before, and I just didn't get my jets excited. What are his Top5 piano pieces that I could 'try' again?

I'll start by checking out the Sonata and Out of Doors on YouTube.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: rappy on February 13, 2011, 08:33:57 AM
Is that the book that Colin Wilson wrote after he made a lot of money and bought hundreds of records? The title of my Colin Wilson book was Colin Wilson on Music. He states somewhere in this book that Wagner was a minor composer and Richard Strauss was a major composer. I wish I had kept that book, I'd like to reread it forty years later. Compare notes.

Wow, just read the chapter about Schönberg, Stravinsky and Hindemith. Really much nonsense what he writes, isn't it?! Very superficial, which displays itself in e.g. sentences where Kant is named in the same breath as Hegel for lack of clarity.

"The proof that the public responds to what is being said can be found in Alban Berg, whose only two 'popular' works are Woxzeck and the Violin Concerto, both clearly driven by a powerful emotion. The Chamber Concerto or the Altenberg Songs say nothing of comparable importance, and are seldom heard."

Huh?!

"Schoenberg has been accused of many things including deliberate faking — musical confidence trickery. But the worst that can fairly be alleged against him is that the complexity of his musical language is not true complexity — the complexity that is the attempt to communicate a complex emotion."

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: snyprrr on February 13, 2011, 06:09:01 PM
I'd like to get into BB's Piano Music. The library has the Fischer?? five cd set,... I've listened before, and I just didn't get my jets excited. What are his Top5 piano pieces that I could 'try' again?

I'll start by checking out the Sonata and Out of Doors on YouTube.

Didn't like the Sonata.

Really liked the Sonatina.

Liked the 3 Etudes Op.18.

Allegro Barbaro,... eh.

I'm sure I have far to go.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: lescamil on February 13, 2011, 09:10:58 PM
Didn't like the Sonata.

Really liked the Sonatina.

Liked the 3 Etudes Op.18.

Allegro Barbaro,... eh.

I'm sure I have far to go.

Check out his Out of Doors suite. It is one of his best piano works by far, if you ask me. I am also not a fan of the Piano Sonata, and I also love the Three Etudes (they almost sound like they could have been written by Ligeti, to my ears at least).
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: PaulSC on February 13, 2011, 11:30:17 PM
The Three Folksongs from the District of Csik are little gems.

http://www.youtube.com/v/DYGXmBdUmFw
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning on February 14, 2011, 02:30:09 AM
Didn't like the Sonata.

Well, if you didn't, you didn't.  But really, it surprises me that anyone could not like that piece.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: lescamil on February 14, 2011, 09:31:22 AM
Well, if you didn't, you didn't.  But really, it surprises me that anyone could not like that piece.

There is a sort of coldness that pervades that work, in my opinion, that you really don't see in some of his other piano works. I think that is what gets to me the most. I don't hate it, but I would never call it one of my favorites, either.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Klaze on February 14, 2011, 02:08:56 PM
I'd like to get into BB's Piano Music. The library has the Fischer?? five cd set,... I've listened before, and I just didn't get my jets excited. What are his Top5 piano pieces that I could 'try' again?

I'll start by checking out the Sonata and Out of Doors on YouTube.

I think it might be Sandor in that set?

Aside from the works mentioned, I'd definitely try the Suite Op.14. Three exhilarating pieces, and ending with a sort of Nachtmusik. I think the 8 Improvisations on Hungarian peasant songs are also important, or at least well-regarded, but maybe less immediately likeable...?
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Luke on February 14, 2011, 02:14:00 PM
There are two comparatively neglected early Elegies by Bartok (op 8b I think, IIRC) which are just astonishing, notationally speaking - I've never seen anything else like them in his music. Evidence that he was really straining at the boundaries of the possible in these pieces, I think.

Yep, op 8b, here's the score. http://216.129.110.22/files/imglnks/usimg/7/73/IMSLP12642-Bartok_op08b_2_Elegies.pdf  Check out the last few pages especially. Wish I could post attachments.....
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Scarpia on February 14, 2011, 02:33:01 PM
There are two comparatively neglected early Elegies by Bartok (op 8b I think, IIRC) which are just astonishing, notationally speaking - I've never seen anything else like them in his music. Evidence that he was really straining at the boundaries of the possible in these pieces, I think.

Yep, op 8b, here's the score. http://216.129.110.22/files/imglnks/usimg/7/73/IMSLP12642-Bartok_op08b_2_Elegies.pdf  Check out the last few pages especially. Wish I could post attachments.....

Wow, I have recordings of those.  Must listen.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 13, 2011, 06:49:18 PM


A different soloist and orchestra for each concerto but with the same conductor. Sounds like a gimmick but, surprisingly, it works incredibly well. Krystian Zimerman's is the most scintillating performance but the others are not far behind.

I'm not too fond of this recording. The three different pianist idea just doesn't work for me. None of these performances can even touch Anda, Ashkenazy, Pollini, or even the new account on Chandos with Bavouzet in my estimate. Zimerman, Andsnes, and Grimaud are all fine pianists, but to my ears, they're not dedicated enough to the music making at hand. Boulez doesn't sound particularly interested in the music making either. I haven't heard this recording in quite some time (I own all of Boulez's Bartok recordings), but I don't remember it making much of an impression.


Jandó who has recorded a wide range of repertoire for Naxos, is clearly very much at home with Bartók. These are vigorous, idiomatic accounts and at budget price, a no brainer.

Not really a no brainer and a mediocre performance overall. Stick to the major labels for Bartok.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Sid on March 13, 2011, 07:12:03 PM
Bartok's piano concertos were amongst the first from the c20th that I got to know. They are still favourites with me, although I don't listen to them that much now. My mother introduced me to them yonks ago. Her favourite is the 2nd, mine used to be the 1st but now I'm more drawn to the gentle lyricism of the 3rd. Anyhow, all three are worth listening to, and (luckily!) fit onto one disc.

I have heard the Boulez & Jando recordings above, both are pretty good. I own the Jando recording & I wouldn't say it's mediocre, but quite well done, imo. The most engaging recording I have heard of these works was done by the late Bulgarian pianist Anton Dikov. I still own an old tape of a reissue of some Balkanton recordings on the Australian Festival label, now sadly OOP. This music was not really his specialty - apparently Beethoven was - but Dikov played with such fire, passion and ferocity, it's just unbelievable. The recording was also made in a way to emphasise the percussion, which are much clearer than in any other recording I have heard. This makes sense, because in a way these concertos not only emphasize the percussiveness of the piano but also of the other percussion instruments on stage. Unfortunately, I don't think many people here will get a chance to listen to this excellent recording...
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 13, 2011, 07:25:27 PM
Bartok's piano concertos were amongst the first from the c20th that I got to know. They are still favourites with me, although I don't listen to them that much now. My mother introduced me to them yonks ago. Her favourite is the 2nd, mine used to be the 1st but now I'm more drawn to the gentle lyricism of the 3rd. Anyhow, all three are worth listening to, and (luckily!) fit onto one disc.

I have heard the Boulez & Jando recordings above, both are pretty good. I own the Jando recording & I wouldn't say it's mediocre, but quite well done, imo. The most engaging recording I have heard of these works was done by the late Bulgarian pianist Anton Dikov. I still own an old tape of a reissue of some Balkanton recordings on the Australian Festival label, now sadly OOP. This music was not really his specialty - apparently Beethoven was - but Dikov played with such fire, passion and ferocity, it's just unbelievable. The recording was also made in a way to emphasise the percussion, which are much clearer than in any other recording I have heard. This makes sense, because in a way these concertos not only emphasize the percussiveness of the piano but also of the other percussion instruments on stage. Unfortunately, I don't think many people here will get a chance to listen to this excellent recording...

I think I'm more or less responding to the ongoing consensus amongst forums I've been on that Naxos is somehow the way to go just because their recordings are budget priced. I have heard many poor Naxos recordings where not only the performances were laughable, but also the audio quality. With so many "budget" releases from various major labels, with first-rate performances and audio quality, that are being made available to the public these days, Naxos seems like it should be a second thought. I remember getting into an argument about this with a forum member (on another site) about the quality of Naxos' recordings and I own a ton of their CDs just because they offer so much unheard repertoire, but it doesn't mean that the performances can't be bettered. A serious classical listener has to realize that Naxos aren't the only label. Cheap doesn't always translate to quality, but don't let my dismay about many of their recordings confuse you, they have many fine recordings, but my point is they're not the only game in town.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Scarpia on March 13, 2011, 07:27:57 PM
I have heard the Boulez & Jando recordings above, both are pretty good. I own the Jando recording & I wouldn't say it's mediocre, but quite well done, imo. The most engaging recording I have heard of these works was done by the late Bulgarian pianist Anton Dikov. I still own an old tape of a reissue of some Balkanton recordings on the Australian Festival label, now sadly OOP. This music was not really his specialty - apparently Beethoven was - but Dikov played with such fire, passion and ferocity, it's just unbelievable. The recording was also made in a way to emphasise the percussion, which are much clearer than in any other recording I have heard. This makes sense, because in a way these concertos not only emphasize the percussiveness of the piano but also of the other percussion instruments on stage. Unfortunately, I don't think many people here will get a chance to listen to this excellent recording...

I have a few Jando recordings, all of which are very good, but not the Bartok.

My favorite recording is one not often mentioned, Schiff.



They get the interaction between the piano and orchestra just right, in my opinion.  I also like Pollini's old recordings with Abbado, but they did not do the 3rd, for some reason.

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 13, 2011, 07:31:16 PM
I have a few Jando recordings, all of which are very good, but not the Bartok.

My favorite recording is one not often mentioned, Schiff.



They get the interaction between the piano and orchestra just right, in my opinion.  I also like Pollini's old recordings with Abbado, but they did not do the 3rd, for some reason.

Yes, I like the Schiff too, Scarpia. Very fine performance, but, then again, it helps when the conductor is a Bartokian like Fischer. ;) The Pollini, which I mentioned above is fantastic. It is odd that Pollini/Abbado didn't record the third piano concerto. I own the reissued/remastered recording, which features an excellent bonus performance of Two Portraits.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Luke on March 13, 2011, 08:51:04 PM
One area where I think the Naxos Bartok are really good is the violin music - particularly the sonatas (solo and with piano), the duos and other chamber music. Gyorgy Pauk is the soloist on all these discs, and he really knows and feels every note of this music superbly. Thoroughly idiomatic, wonderfully committed playing throughout.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51iYmF8LDKL._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51rrcW2yFkL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

(Pauk's disc of the concerti is also very fine IMO, but what do I know)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 13, 2011, 08:57:36 PM
Have you heard this recording, Luke?



Many GMGers here said they enjoyed this recording, but I haven't heard it. It seems that Bartok's music for chamber ensembles is hard to come by.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Luke on March 13, 2011, 08:59:56 PM
Funnily enough I just ordered it - I saw it for a couple of quid whilst I was finding the images I just posted, and as I like all of Pauk's other recordings so much, I could hardly say no! So I'll have to let you know about that one when the disc arrives...
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Luke on March 13, 2011, 09:01:52 PM
The Pauk/Jando/Berkes Contrasts certainly gives me reason to think that the Rhapsody/Quintet disc will be very fine, too.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 13, 2011, 09:05:01 PM
Funnily enough I just ordered it - I saw it for a couple of quid whilst I was finding the images I just posted, and as I like all of Pauk's other recordings so much, I could hardly say no! So I'll have to let you know about that one when the disc arrives...

Thanks, Luke. I would appreciate your feedback on this one. It's a cheap disc, especially from an Amazon Marketplace seller, but, like many Naxos recordings, you just never know.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 14, 2011, 07:32:20 AM
The Jando holds it's own with the best out there, and that Boulez disc is very good as well.

As with any recording, it's a matter of opinion.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 16, 2011, 03:28:22 PM
Has anyone heard Christoph von Dohnanyi's performance of the complete ballet of The Miraculous Mandarin? My goodness this performance is just amazing! It may very well end up being one of my favorite performances, of the the full ballet that is, which is the only way I want to hear this ballet from now on. Sometimes the suites just don't do the full ballet justice like a suite of The Wooden Prince for example. The whole ballet is outstanding, so it doesn't make sense to me have a ballet suite of it. The same applies to other ballet masterpieces as well like Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe and Ma Mere L'Oye or Stravinksy's Pulcinella or Firebird. Anyway, I know I'm getting a bit off-topic, but I think I have a valid point. What do you guys think?
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning on March 17, 2011, 04:56:48 AM
Per this (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,167.msg498359.html#msg498359), mention was made also of the Contrasts, which I don’t believe I’ve ever actually performed.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Brahmsian on March 18, 2011, 07:57:21 AM
Any comments on this one, for The Wooden Prince?



Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning on March 18, 2011, 08:05:36 AM
Didn't Mike (knight) reel that one in, Ray?
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 18, 2011, 07:18:30 PM
Any comments on this one, for The Wooden Prince?



I found Alsop's conducting too rhythmically slack for Bartok. I haven't listened to her Bartok recordings in quite some time. I bought all of her Bartok recordings, with the exception of Bluebeard's Castle, at the same time. I'm very careful of what I buy from Alsop nowadays as she has disappointed me too many times. I did enjoy her Barber series though.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 19, 2011, 06:43:45 AM
Haven't heard it .. for the price tag I'm sure it can't hurt. If you're coming to this one for the first time
perhaps it's best to start with Boulez's excellent DG recording of it that's coupled with the Cantata Profana.



I've recommended this recording for years. Probably the best account of The Wooden Prince I've heard, but Ivan Fischer isn't far behind Boulez. As far as the Cantata Profana, this is the only recording I own of the work, so, obviously, I have nothing to compare it with, but Boulez does an excellent job with it.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning on March 19, 2011, 07:48:50 AM
Must be in the DG Boulez/Bartók reissue set.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Scarpia on March 19, 2011, 09:37:49 AM
Must be in the DG Boulez/Bartók reissue set.

I must say I find that set of DG recordings singularly unpleasant.  The ones I had were made when DG had introduced what they called their "4D" system, which included lengthy descriptions of why their recordings sounded so superior to all other recordings.  Claims notwithstanding, the recordings had a "fingernails on the chalkboard" sound to them which made me cringe. 

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 19, 2011, 05:48:41 PM
I must say I find that set of DG recordings singularly unpleasant.  The ones I had were made when DG had introduced what they called their "4D" system, which included lengthy descriptions of why their recordings sounded so superior to all other recordings.  Claims notwithstanding, the recordings had a "fingernails on the chalkboard" sound to them which made me cringe.

They sounded great to me. You may want to check your stereo. There are three knobs called treble, midrange, and bass. Use these wisely. Now go and may the Force be with you. :P
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 27, 2011, 09:00:22 AM
THE MIRACULOUS MANDARIN
Bartók, whose introspection bordered on the pathological, was clearly attracted to stories of loniness and alienation in which the power of love could redeem and destroy. In 1917 he read the scenario for a ballet, The Miraculous Mandarin, in the Hungarian literary magazine Nyugat. Bartók immediately decided to set it to music, enthusiastically describing the grisly tale to a journalist as "beautiful". The plot tells of three thugs who force a young girl to lure passers-by into a room where they will rob them. After two unsuccessful attempts, a strange Chinese man appears. The girl arouses his desire by dancing. The men try to kill him but he will not die. Only when the girl satisfies his desire do his wounds begin to bleed and he dies.

Like Duke Bluebeard's Castle, The Miraculous Mandarin exudes a tangible claustrophobia and an almost suffocating sexual tension. The work's swirling, restless energy and profusion of jagged cross-rhythms clearly own much to Petrushka and the Rite of Spring but, whereas Stravinsky's rawness conjures up the exotic, Bartók evokes a much more modern vision - an alienating cityscape of glaring lights and blaring klaxons. This is certainly his most aggressive score, with only the beguiling and virtuosic clarinet solos of the three enticement scenes offering much in the the way of lyricism. The nightmarish and percussive violence of the score is made bearable by the brilliant richness of the orchestral colouring which, though consistently sinister, has several highly sensous moments.


Fisher gets a finely detailed and energetic performance from his Budapest players. There is an engaging clarity and bite to the orchestral playing (qualities that also serve the accompanying Romanian Folk Dances well) and the solo passages are excellent. The seduction scenes, in particular are beautifully played by an uncredited clarinettist.

The Miraculous Mandarin is one of my favorite works of the 20th Century. It is so relentless and aggressive. I love every minute of it. The Ivan Fischer recording is very good, but it's not my top choice. That honor goes to Christoph von Dohnanyi and the most unlikely of Bartok orchestras: the Vienna Philharmonic. This performance will send shivers down your spine. When I hear this ballet, I want to hear a certain edginess from the orchestra. Both of Boulez's accounts compared to the Dohnanyi sound quite tame as does Fischer.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 27, 2011, 10:43:35 AM
They made a movie about the Concerto for Orchestra, its here ..

http://www.youtube.com/v/kL12wxqRG2Q
http://www.youtube.com/v/LbDrqWkTouI
http://www.youtube.com/v/qseyT5G6IQs

I own this performance with its documentary, which is this DVD:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41VgCrUxj-L.jpg)

I liked the documentary a lot, very helpful. Boulez's conducting was also quite good here.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 27, 2011, 10:53:30 AM
Listening now to the Boulez's fabulously detailed & technically assured DG recording of the piece,
coupled with a great 4 Orchestral Pieces op.12.



I'm still a firm believer that Reiner's performance of the Concerto for Orchestra is the gold standard. Boulez's performance is quite good as is Solti's, Fischer's, Dohnanyi's, but there's something in Reiner's approach that just works for me. I suppose I like how he brought out the darker elements of the score.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 27, 2011, 11:13:31 AM
The Reiner recording doesn't do much for me to be honest .. but there are many versions available to choose from ..

The Reiner also has great performances of Hungarian Sketches and Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta. A truly landmark recording, but I can certainly understand that not everybody will like Reiner's approach.

On a different topic, I was surprised to even see Alsop mentioned, because she is so mediocre in Bartok. Totally uncommitted to his idiom and she's just so slack in her rhythms that the music looses its edge.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Henk on March 27, 2011, 11:25:37 AM
MI, can you sum up your recommendations of Bartok and Stravinsky recordings in one post for me? It's too much work to search them. Can be a valuable post for other as well.

I'm not fooling you. ;)

Thanks in advance.

Henk
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 27, 2011, 12:05:59 PM
MI, can you sum up your recommendations of Bartok and Stravinsky recordings in one post for me? Can be a valuable post for others as well.

Thanks in advance.

Henk

Oh lord....I will try Henk. This is difficult....but here goes nothing (I'm sure many will disagree here), but you did ask me to sum up my recommendations for two of my favorite composers -- a very daunting task indeed)...

For Stravinsky:











For Bartok:













(http://www.classicalarchives.com/images/coverart/6/f/9/9/028945529721_300.jpg)

I tried...

It pained to me to compile this list as after looking at my initial post I left so many other recordings I admire off my list. :'(


Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 27, 2011, 12:13:27 PM
Yea it's such a killer piece with major teeth. I'm listening Boulez's radiant & clear DG account now. Sick.

I will have to check out the Dohnanyi. I love Dohnanyi's Webern.

I need to listen to Boulez's DG account again as I remember enjoying it a lot. One of the most astonishing things about the Dohnanyi is when it gets to that vicious Allegro section which lasts a little over two minutes. The percussion absolutely wail away in this performance and I've never heard the VPO play so aggressively in all the recordings I own with them. They actually cut loose and you can hear the string section absolutely ripping into their strings. There's noise, there's passion, this is Miraculous Mandarin totally uninhibited.

This particular recording is apart of the Decca Eloquence series now and can be purchased at budget price:



There's also an equally dedicated performance of Stravinsky's Petrushka that sounds as fresh as ever.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Henk on March 27, 2011, 12:38:26 PM
Oh lord....I will try Henk. This is difficult....but here goes nothing (I'm sure many will disagree here), but you did ask me to sum up my recommendations for two of my favorite composers -- a very daunting task indeed)...



I tried...

It pained to me to compile this list as after looking at my initial post I left so many other recordings I admire off my list. :'(

Thanks again, I think you forgot that Dohnanyi recording? Seems to be a strong favourite of yours.

This inspired me to start a new thread in the "Great Recordings and Reviews" section.

Henk
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 27, 2011, 01:22:44 PM
Thanks again, I think you forgot that Dohnanyi recording? Seems to be a strong favourite of yours.

This inspired me to start a new thread in the "Great Recordings and Reviews" section.

Henk

You're welcome. Do you own many of these recordings?

Yes, I was in such of hurry to finish the daunting task that I knew I was forgetting to mention other recordings that I admired.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Sid on March 28, 2011, 05:03:28 PM
Thanks for that information, James. I've got the following recording which I like & think is also very good from another Hungarian pianist, Balazs Szokolay. I particularly like the Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm from the Mikrokosmos which concludes the disc (Gee, they sound really hard!!!). I think this kind of single disc collection is a good buy for those like me who aren't really interested in buying the big sets...

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 04, 2011, 09:07:53 AM
STRING QUARTETS
Bartók's six string quartets are his greatest achievement and span his entire creative life: the first was completed in 1908, the second in 1917, the third in 1927, the fourth in 1928, the fifth in 1934 and the last in 1938. As with Beethoven, Bartók translated his deepest and most personal thoughts into his quartets, and each of the six is the purest distillation of his immersion in folk song. The two central quartets, the third and the forth, have the most astringent and difficult music, but they are also the most challenging and exciting to listen to. The third is a short, highly concentrated exercise in expressionism that teeters on the brink of atonality. Though Bartók was not a string player, he manages to create an astonishing variety of deeply anguished and mysterious sounds, culminating in the hard-driven and cathartic finale. The sections of the third's single movement structure form a palindrome; a pattern repeated in the fourth quartet, a more expansive and less introspective work. At its heart is an extraordinary slow movement, full of the wild "night sounds" of nature - rustling trees, birdsong, the movement of insects. It's followed by a short Scherzo made up of manic pizzicato strumming. The finale is one of the most disturbingly driven and dissonant works in the whole of quartet literature.


The Emerson Quartet's award-winning recording of the complete cycle is unrivalled. The concentration, the precision, the forensic attention to detail, the rhythmic force, tension & fire. Rhythmic contortions, unexpected changes in mood and the lurking folk elements are perfectly judged and handled with complete assurance of the idiom; not to mention the wonderful up close and crystal clear recorded sound. The Emerson Quartet are completely at home in Bartók's extraordinary sound-world and this is a fabulous production.

Ah, the beauty of copy and paste.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning on July 05, 2011, 03:29:01 AM
Even when the Master's music is driven, I don't find it at all "disturbingly" so . . . exhilirating, yes.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: karlhenning on July 07, 2011, 09:35:20 AM
Quote
. . . and was one of only ten people who attended Bartók's funeral in 1945. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gy%C3%B6rgy_S%C3%A1ndor)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 24, 2011, 09:05:08 AM
Time to resurrect this thread. Bartok, for me, was my entrance into the world of classical music (along with Ives). I simply took a chance on his music more than 10 years ago through Reiner's famous RCA recording. At first, I was completely turned off by Bartok's idiom, but then again, I really didn't understand the classical language much as I had been a fervent jazz fan. I put this Reiner recording aside for many years. When I became bored with jazz and looking for something new, also with encouragement from my grandfather (a devout classical fan), I pursued this recording again only to find that I could hear much music here this time around. It still sounded dissonant to me, but I pursued Bartok further with my next purchase: Boulez's DG recording of The Wooden Prince. Needless to say, I was floored and enthralled with what I heard.

Sometimes time can be a great healer. All of this stuff works in such mysterious ways. I'm glad I pursued classical music as it has been one of the most incredible musical journeys I've made. I'm indebted to Bartok for opening up my ears to what classical music had to offer.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: AllegroVivace on July 25, 2011, 04:00:59 PM
....I'm indebted to Bartok for opening up my ears to what classical music had to offer.

Thanks for sharing that experience. how long ago was that? I'm curious how long it took you to start appreciating all the other music you know.

Jazz is great, but it has its limits. It's not a surprise you reached such a point and turned to classical music. Bartok must have been a rough start. Usually people are linked by Rachmaninoff, Gershwin and the like.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 25, 2011, 04:28:47 PM
Thanks for sharing that experience. how long ago was that? I'm curious how long it took you to start appreciating all the other music you know.

Jazz is great, but it has its limits. It's not a surprise you reached such a point and turned to classical music. Bartok must have been a rough start. Usually people are linked by Rachmaninoff, Gershwin and the like.

You're welcome. Bartok really made things click for me about 4 years ago even though I heard him 6 years prior. It didn't really take me too long to understand a composer like Ravel or Debussy, because I was already, in some strange way, attuned to their music through the actual harmony of it. Those minor 9ths and 11ths which are chords that I'm used to hearing in jazz music, so all I had to do is get an understanding of the classical language and the way this language applies to an orchestra instead of the big bands that I've been listening to in jazz.

I don't think my situation is all that unique, but I sought out composers that I had some kind of connection with right away. Bruckner was pretty rough going for me. It took me awhile to understand his music because of the way it was structured and the way he used repetition. When I heard Stravinsky for the first time, I understood his language very quickly. The same with R. Strauss, Villa-Lobos, and Vaughan Williams. This music just made so much sense to me. It's really hard to say why I'm attracted to the composers I'm attracted to because they're all so different, but 20th Century music is where my heart is and has been most of my life whether it's jazz, classical, or rock.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Roberto on July 26, 2011, 05:52:26 AM
...
My first Bartók experience was the Dance Suite. I've heard part of it in the Hungarian Television's conductor competition some 8 years ago. It was so familiar to me (maybe I've heard it when I was child at elementary school or something). After it I've bought my first Bartók CD:
(http://hungaroton.hu/files/hungaroton/image/diskimages/HCD_31048.jpg)
It was easy to  take a fancy to Dance Suite. The Wooden Prince was longer piece (it was when my classical music awakening also started) but after two or three listening I liked it also. Now he is one of my favorite composer. (Ives: he is a great explorer. I know only his symphonies and some small orchestral pieces but I like these also.)

On the Reiner RCA recording: I miss the drum from the soundstage of Concerto. I don't know why it is so far on this recording.

But to begin classical music discoveries with Bartók... I don't think it would work for most people.  :)

Jazz: I don't like. I tried many times but nothing happened. When I am not listening to classical music I mainly prefer rock or folk music.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Roberto on July 26, 2011, 05:56:23 AM
I don't think my situation is all that unique, but I sought out composers that I had some kind of connection with right away. Bruckner was pretty rough going for me. It took me awhile to understand his music because of the way it was structured and the way he used repetition.
It is Furtwängler who bring Bruckner to me.  :D
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 26, 2011, 07:13:43 AM
My first Bartók experience was the Dance Suite. I've heard part of it in the Hungarian Television's conductor competition some 8 years ago. It was so familiar to me (maybe I've heard it when I was child at elementary school or something). After it I've bought my first Bartók CD:

(http://hungaroton.hu/files/hungaroton/image/diskimages/HCD_31048.jpg)

It was easy to  take a fancy to Dance Suite. The Wooden Prince was longer piece (it was when my classical music awakening also started) but after two or three listening I liked it also. Now he is one of my favorite composer. (Ives: he is a great explorer. I know only his symphonies and some small orchestral pieces but I like these also.)

On the Reiner RCA recording: I miss the drum from the soundstage of Concerto. I don't know why it is so far on this recording.

But to begin classical music discoveries with Bartók... I don't think it would work for most people.  :)

Jazz: I don't like. I tried many times but nothing happened. When I am not listening to classical music I mainly prefer rock or folk music.

No, I don't think starting off with Bartok would work for most people either, but I had been fascinated by this composer for years. Ives was easier listening for me as the first Ives recording I bought was with Bernstein conducting Symphony No. 2 with other works like Central Park in the Dark and The Unanswered Question. This was later DG recording.

I LOVE The Wooden Prince! The music isn't as savage as say The Miraculous Mandarin but it still sounds undeniably like Bartok.

I have been meaning to checkout those Bartok Hungaroton recordings.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: not edward on July 26, 2011, 07:20:56 AM
I think sometimes it's easy to be over-conservative when considering the possible routes into classical music; I have a friend who first got into classical music through hearing Schnittke, and one through Xenakis. I guess it all depends on predisposition and previous musical experiences.

Meanwhile, to return back on topic, any views on the Fricsay Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta? This is probably my favourite Bartok work (along with the 4th quartet), but I am yet to hear a recording that fully satisfies me.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 26, 2011, 07:32:17 AM
I think sometimes it's easy to be over-conservative when considering the possible routes into classical music; I have a friend who first got into classical music through hearing Schnittke, and one through Xenakis. I guess it all depends on predisposition and previous musical experiences.

Meanwhile, to return back on topic, any views on the Fricsay Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta? This is probably my favourite Bartok work (along with the 4th quartet), but I am yet to hear a recording that fully satisfies me.

In my view, there's no wrong way to get into classical music just as long as you find a way in.

I have not heard Fricsay's Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta, but I can imagine it's good considering that Fricsay was a champion of Bartok's music having recorded all of the piano concertos with Anda, Cantata Profana, and Bluebeard's Castle.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Roberto on July 26, 2011, 10:18:08 AM
No, I don't think starting off with Bartok would work for most people either, but I had been fascinated by this composer for years. Ives was easier listening for me as the first Ives recording I bought was with Bernstein conducting Symphony No. 2 with other works like Central Park in the Dark and The Unanswered Question. This was later DG recording.

Exactly this is what I have from Ives. I love this disc!  :) The other is the Decca 2CD set which has all symphonies/orchestral sets with Dohnányi, Mehta, Marriner. It is good also but the 2nd on this disc doesn't come close to that Bernstein IMO.

I LOVE The Wooden Prince! The music isn't as savage as say The Miraculous Mandarin but it still sounds undeniably like Bartok.

I have been meaning to checkout those Bartok Hungaroton recordings.
I have the Wooden Prince on Hungaroton Bartók New Series SACD with Kocsis too. The first thing I realized when I listened to this recording is that the older recording has several cuts! It is in the booklet also but I didn't know these cuts until I listened the new. The cuts made by Bartók himself. The older recording has some beautiful moments which the never doesn't have. But maybe it is why I heard the older first. The best is to get both.  :)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Roberto on July 26, 2011, 10:36:47 AM
I think sometimes it's easy to be over-conservative when considering the possible routes into classical music; I have a friend who first got into classical music through hearing Schnittke, and one through Xenakis. I guess it all depends on predisposition and previous musical experiences.
It is interesting. I don't know. Every people different.

Meanwhile, to return back on topic, any views on the Fricsay Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta? This is probably my favourite Bartok work (along with the 4th quartet), but I am yet to hear a recording that fully satisfies me.
I have 6 recordings from Music:
- Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra (Hungaroton CD) It was my first but now I don't like it. Boring performance and murky sound.
- Hungarian National PO/Kocsis (Hungaroton BNS SACD) It is my latest. One of the best IMO. Fiery performance, absolutely first class performers, clear sound. (I can play only the CD layer.)
- BBC PO/Boulez (Sony CD) I haven't heard yet. I've read a review about it which states it was a big mistake of Boulez.
- RIAS/Fricsay (DG CD) The second best IMO. But unfortunately it is mono so you can not enjoy the stereo effects made by the composer.  :(
- Chicago SO/Reiner (RCA CD) The third best.  :)
- Chicago SO/Kubelik (Mercury CD) Nothing special. And mono also. A little bit harsh sound.

I would suggest Reiner or Kocsis. Fricsay is for Bartók-collectors because it is mono.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Drasko on July 28, 2011, 01:41:41 PM
Meanwhile, to return back on topic, any views on the Fricsay Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta? This is probably my favourite Bartok work (along with the 4th quartet), but I am yet to hear a recording that fully satisfies me.

Studio DG recording is my favorite recording of my favorite Bartok piece, despite being mono. It's mostly on swift side, mellower than lets say Mravinsky or Reiner, but wonderfully articulated. I'd say worth checking out. I'm not familiar with recent Audite release.

Myself wouldn't mind hearing Kocsis and Ivan Fischer.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on July 28, 2011, 04:10:49 PM
Myself wouldn't mind hearing Kocsis and Ivan Fischer.

That one's my favorite. It has that expressively "earthy" sound, owing to the Budapest musicians no doubt. And Philips couldn't have given them a better recording.


 
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 28, 2011, 05:26:05 PM
That one's my favorite. It has that expressively "earthy" sound, owing to the Budapest musicians no doubt. And Philips couldn't have given them a better recording.

This is good news. I just received that 3-CD set today. I plan to dive into this weekend.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: jowcol on August 12, 2011, 07:57:52 AM
It's not copy and pasted tho .. I actually typed all that out.  :-[

with a copy of the The Rough Guide to Classical Music, 4th Edition; eds. Joe Staines & Duncan Clark before you, perhaps?
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 05, 2011, 07:47:57 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...  :(

If the Concerto for Orchestra was the only Bartok work I heard, I probably never would have pursued his music any further. The first recording I bought of any of Bartok's music was the famous Reiner/CSO disc on RCA, which still sounds unbelievably good. I'm thankful the recording included Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta and Hungarian Sketches, because, as I said, I would have never been interested in Bartok's music had I only heard the Concerto for Orchestra. To this day, I'm still not that enthralled with the Concerto for Orchestra, but, thankfully, Bartok wrote so much outstanding music that there's a lot to listen to. A few of my absolute favorite works are The Wooden Prince, The Miraculous Mandarin, Violin Concertos 1 & 2, the three piano concerti, Divertimento, and Contrasts. I also can't ignore the minor works like Two Portraits, Rhapsodies 1 & 2, Dance Suite, among others. He's really written some fine music and his music has been a huge part of my life for the past three or four years.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on November 05, 2011, 07:42:05 PM
If the Concerto for Orchestra was the only Bartok work I heard, I probably never would have pursued his music any further.

Not at all the case for me, BTW. The Concerto for Orchestra probably was the first Bartók work I heard — and thus, perforce, for a period the only Bartók work I heard for some period — and it fired my imagination to wish to hear more of his work.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 05, 2011, 07:47:14 PM
Not at all the case for me, BTW. The Concerto for Orchestra probably was the first Bartók work I heard — and thus, perforce, for a period the only Bartók work I heard for some period — and it fired my imagination to wish to hear more of his work.

Of Bartok's later period, I do like the 3rd PC a lot. I think it's especially fine, but nothing else he wrote in the last couple of years of his life really ignited as much interest in his music like earlier and middle periods. I like ruggedness, edginess of these periods. It's amusing to think about, but I like late Janacek for this reason as well.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: (: premont :) on November 06, 2011, 01:26:09 PM
Fricsay is for Bartók-collectors because it is mono.

I suppose the work (Music for et.c.) as such is for Bartók collectors (i.e. not the most accessible work of his). However I am fully satisfied with Fricsay´s version even if mono.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: DieNacht on January 07, 2012, 07:00:05 AM
Bought and heard the old MHS lp Bartok: 3rd Piano Concerto / Ditta Bartok-Pasztory, Tibor Serly conductor.; Serly: Concerto for 2 Pianos & Orchestra / today. An apparently interesting issue, since the Bartok concerto was written for D-B as a birthday present, and Serly completed it. She refused to play it for more than a decade after Bartok´s death, then agreed to make the recording - in stereo with Serly and Orchester Wiener Volksoper. Ufortunately it turns out that the Bartok performance is very disappointing here. Perhaps the pianist was past her prime, but the playing is boringly lifeless, tempi dragged out, and the orchestral sound receded, some instruments barely being audible. There´s a tiny tendency to something interesting in the beginning of the slow movement, but that´s all. It´s by far the least attractive version I´ve heard. Timings are: 8:02 - 9:02 - 8:00

Better are Argerich/Dutoit, Farnadi/Scherchen, Kocsis/Fischer, Bernathova/Ancerl, Katchen/Ansermet and Ranki/Ferencsik. Some prefer Sandor/Reinhardt and Anda/Fricsay. All are definitely much to be preferred to this issue.

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 07, 2012, 02:57:31 PM
Just echoing what I wrote in the "Latest Purchases" thread, Bartok fans will want the new Gramophone January 2012 issue:

(http://i31.fastpic.ru/big/2011/1226/ea/63bd952d143151f0f90e428c428fa0ea.jpg)

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: johnshade on January 10, 2012, 01:05:39 PM
Just echoing what I wrote in the "Latest Purchases" thread, Bartok fans will want the new Gramophone January 2012 issue:

(http://i31.fastpic.ru/big/2011/1226/ea/63bd952d143151f0f90e428c428fa0ea.jpg)

What I did not like about the article in Gramophone is the opinion that Bartok's music is somehow influenced by jazz. I have a biographical article stating that Bartok did not like jazz ("...frequently banal to the point of boredom"). See page 237 in Bartok and His World, Princeton University Press, 1995.







Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: John Copeland on January 10, 2012, 01:15:18 PM
Just echoing what I wrote in the "Latest Purchases" thread, Bartok fans will want the new Gramophone January 2012 issue:

I will buy it during my upcoming Classical splurge.  I am glad johnshade has pointed out Bartoks NON JAZZ influence.  I know a lot of composers have been influenced by Jazz, but the less the better.  Jazz is fine, I like Monk, but Jazz is Jazz and Orchestral music is Orchestral music.  On the same level, I would hate to think Monk was influenced by Classical Music.  Both ways, it is like mixing showjumping with ice hockey.  Both sports, but both completely different.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 10, 2012, 01:27:17 PM
Not at all the case for me, BTW. The Concerto for Orchestra probably was the first Bartók work I heard — and thus, perforce, for a period the only Bartók work I heard for some period — and it fired my imagination to wish to hear more of his work.

That mirrors my early Bartok experience. Szell, Cleveland, the Concerto...that was Bartok for years.

Sarge
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 10, 2012, 02:23:17 PM
What I did not like about the article in Gramophone is the opinion that Bartok's music is somehow influenced by jazz. I have a biographical article stating that Bartok did not like jazz ("...frequently banal to the point of boredom"). See page 237 in Bartok and His World, Princeton University Press, 1995.

As with anything, the article is based one person's viewpoint. Jazz had no bearing on Bartok's music whatsoever. I find it a curious error on the writer's part too, but I've only read the article once. I did enjoy the section about Bluebeard's Castle and, off topic, the article on 21st Century concert halls. That was pretty cool.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 11, 2012, 05:28:51 AM
What I did not like about the article in Gramophone is the opinion that Bartok's music is somehow influenced by jazz.

Agreed, disappointingly sloppy thinking — There are points of similarity between Bartók’s music and jazz, therefore Bartók’s was influenced by jazz.  (And I speak as an enthusiast for stretches of jazz.)

As for myself, I find the use of the term maverick already unbearably tiresome.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 11, 2012, 05:36:05 AM
. . . Jazz is fine, I like Monk, but Jazz is Jazz and Orchestral music is Orchestral music.

I once kept them carefully segregated, too. But what of (the obvious example) Rhapsody in Blue?  The iconic genre-crosser . . . .
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: John Copeland on January 11, 2012, 10:11:09 AM
I once kept them carefully segregated, too. But what of (the obvious example) Rhapsody in Blue?  The iconic genre-crosser . . . .

Pure Hybrid music.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 11, 2012, 10:46:40 AM
Pure hybrid is a delightful oxymoron! : )
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 11, 2012, 11:02:26 AM
Landed today:

(http://www.tradebit.com/usr/mp3-album/pub/9002/443/443277/44327785.jpg)

This will be my 9th recording of Bluebeard's Castle. Can't wait to hear this one!
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: not edward on January 11, 2012, 11:33:24 AM
I assume the Bartok-jazz claim comes largely from Contrasts, due to it being written for Benny Goodman to play. Of course, the fact that its exemplars (if any) are Hungarian folk music, and that it was written at the request of Joseph Szigeti (the distinctly Hungarian violinist in the first performances), aren't so interesting to people wanting to find a link. :P
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: johnshade on January 12, 2012, 08:59:10 AM
My favourite Bartok:
1. Music for strings, percussion, and celesta
2. Sonata for two pianos and percusssion
3. String Quartet No. 5
4. Concerto for Orchestra
5. Divertimento for String Orchestra
(I believe these were composed in the last ten years of his life;
my favorite Bartok "period".) I was first exposed to Bartok's music
at a concert at Florida State University in the 1950s. Ernst von
Dohnanyi was resident composer at that time.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 12, 2012, 09:02:11 AM
Long though I have known so much of his music, the Divertimento was a 'sleeper' by me . . . only recently (relatively) have I come to appreciate it.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 12, 2012, 07:38:39 PM
My favourite Bartok:
1. Music for strings, percussion, and celesta
2. Sonata for two pianos and percusssion
3. String Quartet No. 5
4. Concerto for Orchestra
5. Divertimento for String Orchestra
(I believe these were composed in the last ten years of his life;
my favorite Bartok "period".) I was first exposed to Bartok's music
at a concert at Florida State University in the 1950s. Ernst von
Dohnanyi was resident composer at that time.

Impressive list. I can't say I'm too keen on Concerto for Orchestra or Sonata for two pianos and percussion though, but I realize this is your list.

My list would look something like this (in no particular order):

1. The Wooden Prince
2. The Miraculous Mandarin
3. Violin Concerto No. 2
4. Bluebeard's Castle
5. Piano Concerto No. 2

Other favorites: Contrasts, Dance Suite, Piano Concerto No. 3, Hungarian Sketches, Profana Cantata, Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta, and Divertimento.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: John Copeland on January 12, 2012, 09:42:12 PM
Impressive list. I can't say I'm too keen on Concerto for Orchestra or Sonata for two pianos and percussion though, but I realize this is your list.

My list would look something like this (in no particular order):

1. The Wooden Prince
2. The Miraculous Mandarin
3. Violin Concerto No. 2
4. Bluebeard's Castle
5. Piano Concerto No. 2

Other favorites: Contrasts, Dance Suite, Piano Concerto No. 3, Hungarian Sketches, Profana Cantata, Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta, and Divertimento.

I listened to The Wooden Prince today for the first time in many, many moons.  What an outstanding work it is, no wonder it's at the top of your list John.  (Version listened to was Adam Fischer, HSSO)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 12, 2012, 10:00:45 PM
I listened to The Wooden Prince today for the first time in many, many moons.  What an outstanding work it is, no wonder it's at the top of your list John.  (Version listened to was Adam Fischer, HSSO)

Yeah, I'm glad you like this work a lot too, John. It seems that the ballet doesn't get as much press as The Miraculous Mandarin, but I think it's just as fine. But aesthetically, The Wooden Prince is quite different than Mandarin. The Wooden Prince has more of a folk influence whereas Madarnin is in a more Modern, dissonant musical language. Both ballets couldn't be more different but I love them both. I really, really love Boulez's second recording of The Wooden Prince on DG with the CSO. This is an astounding recording. It's coupled with the Cantata Profana. Ivan Fischer also recorded a fine performance on Philips. Boulez's first recording of this work was also good (w/ the NY Philharmonic), but I think his CSO edges that one out by just a hair.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: DavidW on January 13, 2012, 06:09:28 AM
This will be my 9th recording of Bluebeard's Castle. Can't wait to hear this one!

After your long survey do you have any new favorites?
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 13, 2012, 06:14:45 AM
Impressive list. I can't say I'm too keen on Concerto for Orchestra or Sonata for two pianos and percussion though [....]

Yeah, I'm glad you like this work a lot too, John. It seems that the ballet doesn't get as much press as The Miraculous Mandarin, but I think it's just as fine. But aesthetically, The Wooden Prince is quite different than Mandarin. The Wooden Prince has more of a folk influence whereas Madarnin is in a more Modern, dissonant musical language. Both ballets couldn't be more different but I love them both.

To echo a theme in A kékszakállú herceg vára . . . you have given your love to the morning, but as for myself, I probably like all times of day roughly equal : )
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 13, 2012, 07:45:05 AM
After your long survey do you have any new favorites?

I really enjoyed the Haitink on EMI. Boulez's first on Sony is still a good one. But I've still yet to find a recording that beats Kertesz on Decca.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Scion7 on February 18, 2012, 10:07:05 PM
These two vinyl recordings have given me 30+ years of pleasure:



(http://s14.postimage.org/l10nmep7z/Bartok_Front_Label_Juliard_Box_Set_1963.jpg)

(http://s15.postimage.org/f8v0yrs55/Vln_Con1_Stern_Pn_Con1_Serkin.jpg)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Klaze on February 19, 2012, 01:42:47 AM
These two vinyl recordings have given me 30+ years of pleasure:

(http://postimage.org/image/8z59s9fzh/)


(http://postimage.org/image/lmk420x13/)


(open the links  [?] in another window to get the images, they won't resolve here)

You should put the address of the picture itself between the img tags (which shows for example when you right-click on the picture and view Properties), in this case:

http://s14.postimage.org/lds1sl7hr/Bartok_Front_Label_Juliard_Box_Set_1963.jpg

and

http://s15.postimage.org/gb57hbayh/Vln_Con1_Stern_Pn_Con1_Serkin.jpg

(http://s14.postimage.org/lds1sl7hr/Bartok_Front_Label_Juliard_Box_Set_1963.jpg)
(http://s15.postimage.org/gb57hbayh/Vln_Con1_Stern_Pn_Con1_Serkin.jpg)

And I can very well understand the pleasure they have given you. I have that Concerto LP as well, and I've got the Juilliard Quartet playing Bartok on CD. I think they're both very nice recordings.

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Roberto on July 08, 2013, 10:54:27 AM
I assume the Bartok-jazz claim comes largely from Contrasts, due to it being written for Benny Goodman to play. Of course, the fact that its exemplars (if any) are Hungarian folk music, and that it was written at the request of Joseph Szigeti (the distinctly Hungarian violinist in the first performances), aren't so interesting to people wanting to find a link. :P
Bartók said: "We have beautiful folk music, so we don't need jazz."
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Roberto on July 08, 2013, 10:59:22 AM
Anyone heard about Hungaroton's Bartók New Series? http://www.bartoknewseries.com/ (http://www.bartoknewseries.com/)
They planned to record all works from Bartók mostly with Zoltán Kocsis but the set is still incomplete after 10 years.  :'(
I have all recordings from this series (partly dedicated  8)) and I think it is absolutely first class. (The piano recordings are from Kocsis' earlier Decca cycle.)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mandryka on July 09, 2013, 07:07:02 AM
Re Bartok, can anyone explain what parlando-rubato means? You sometimes see it used when people discuss his music.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: North Star on July 09, 2013, 08:08:02 AM
Re Bartok, can anyone explain what parlando-rubato means? You sometimes see it used when people discuss his music.
This excerpt cuts just before it was going to be useful..
...European folk music, the Hungarian composer and ethnomusicologist Béla Bartók identified two primary singing styles in European folk music, which he named parlando-rubato and tempo giusto. Parlando-rubato, stressing the words, departs frequently from strict... (http://global.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/444189/parlando-rubato)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mandryka on July 09, 2013, 08:37:18 AM
This excerpt cuts just before it was going to be useful..
...European folk music, the Hungarian composer and ethnomusicologist Béla Bartók identified two primary singing styles in European folk music, which he named parlando-rubato and tempo giusto. Parlando-rubato, stressing the words, departs frequently from strict... (http://global.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/444189/parlando-rubato)

Yes I'd found that too. This concept, parlando rubato, is, I think, one that's pretty widely applied in studies of folk music. But it's hard to find anything on the web which explains just what it is.

I'm very very impressed by the rubato in Bartok's own recordings, at the moment I'm listening to string quartet recordings with the aim of seeing whether they use a similar type of rubato. I think this is  right at the heart of making this music work.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Parsifal on July 09, 2013, 10:16:28 AM
Yes I'd found that too. This concept, parlando rubato, is, I think, one that's pretty widely applied in studies of folk music. But it's hard to find anything on the web which explains just what it is.

I means the tempo is varied to suit the patterns of speech.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Roberto on July 09, 2013, 10:23:06 AM
I'm very very impressed by the rubato in Bartok's own recordings, at the moment I'm listening to string quartet recordings with the aim of seeing whether they use a similar type of rubato. I think this is  right at the heart of making this music work.
You are absolutely right! I am not a musicologist and it is hard to describe it in English. I think the "rubato" is clear: free modifications of the rhytm. You will find great examples of it in Willem Mengelberg's recordings:
Tchaikovsky 4th movement 2 with Karajan and no rubato: (try just a few seconds) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMViOrqBzPk&feature=player_detailpage#t=1148s (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMViOrqBzPk&feature=player_detailpage#t=1148s)
And the same with Mengelberg: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=An_FS8Gl9ug#t=1025s (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=An_FS8Gl9ug#t=1025s)

What parlando is? When an authentic performer sings a Hungarian (or Central-European) folk song, he also modifies the tempo (and the dynamics) in order to the song's theme and based on the rules of the language. It is impossible to write down every little modification on the score: the performer has to feel the right singing style. When a musical piece based on folk themes the performer must apply this style on his instrument also. I think this is the parlando-rubato style. If you know Zoltán Kodály's Háry János suite: the main theme of the 3rd movement based on a hungarian folk song. I know that song well and when I hear a performance I can sing that song in my mind. Mengelberg made a recording from this work also which is great but I feel: the performer doesn't know and doesn't understand the song because his playing doesn't fit my "inner" singing. Doesn't fit the nature of the song and the language. When I listening to this work in a performance of a Hungarian orchestra: everything will be right. I feel that the performer also can sing that song.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mandryka on July 09, 2013, 11:31:44 AM
I means the tempo is varied to suit the patterns of speech.

You are absolutely right! I am not a musicologist and it is hard to describe it in English. I think the "rubato" is clear: free modifications of the rhytm. You will find great examples of it in Willem Mengelberg's recordings:
Tchaikovsky 4th movement 2 with Karajan and no rubato: (try just a few seconds) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMViOrqBzPk&feature=player_detailpage#t=1148s (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMViOrqBzPk&feature=player_detailpage#t=1148s)
And the same with Mengelberg: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=An_FS8Gl9ug#t=1025s (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=An_FS8Gl9ug#t=1025s)

What parlando is? When an authentic performer sings a Hungarian (or Central-European) folk song, he also modifies the tempo (and the dynamics) in order to the song's theme and based on the rules of the language. It is impossible to write down every little modification on the score: the performer has to feel the right singing style. When a musical piece based on folk themes the performer must apply this style on his instrument also. I think this is the parlando-rubato style. If you know Zoltán Kodály's Háry János suite: the main theme of the 3rd movement based on a hungarian folk song. I know that song well and when I hear a performance I can sing that song in my mind. Mengelberg made a recording from this work also which is great but I feel: the performer doesn't know and doesn't understand the song because his playing doesn't fit my "inner" singing. Doesn't fit the nature of the song and the language. When I listening to this work in a performance of a Hungarian orchestra: everything will be right. I feel that the performer also can sing that song.



Is this an example of it, his recording of the Preludio al'ungarese from the  little piano pieces, which is, at the moment, blowing my mind?

http://open.spotify.com/track/4epd6fBlHFVFX2KWisSBgE

This is the CD

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51nIjgAgGJL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Roberto on July 11, 2013, 05:33:35 AM
Is this an example of it, his recording of the Preludio al'ungarese from the  little piano pieces, which is, at the moment, blowing my mind?
Unfortunately I can't open the link. (I have the Bartók plays Bartók complete Hungaroton set but I am not at home at the moment.) I found it on youtube and yes, maybe it is. But I can show an original example. It is a parlando folk song performed by a shepherd (so it is authentic):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=qdLhg1yLLPM#at=18 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=qdLhg1yLLPM#at=18)
And it is the Rhapsody from "For Children" by Bartók (I found an essay and it said it is parlando-rubato):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_I_NbN9F68 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_I_NbN9F68)
I think the style of the two piece and the performances are very similar.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Ten thumbs on August 09, 2013, 12:36:10 PM
As I have commented elsewhere, this composer's name is Bartók Béla. Even Wikipedia has this wrong (shame on it!). It is of course correctly given on a commemorative Hungarian postage stamp. The interesting thing is that people are falling over backwards to give Chinese names with the surname first but avoid the fact that the same applies in Hungary.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Opus106 on August 09, 2013, 11:22:40 PM
As I have commented elsewhere, this composer's name is Bartók Béla. Even Wikipedia has this wrong (shame on it!).

The English Wikipedia, you mean? At least it says at the outset what his actual name is and that the rest of the article uses the English version. Have a look at the Hungarian Wikipedia instead.

Quote
The interesting thing is that people are falling over backwards to give Chinese names with the surname first but avoid the fact that the same applies in Hungary.

Wait till Hungary becomes a manufacturing hub and a HUGE market for foreign investment. ;D ;)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Roberto on August 10, 2013, 02:26:24 AM
The interesting thing is that people are falling over backwards to give Chinese names with the surname first but avoid the fact that the same applies in Hungary.
In Hungary the surname is the first but I think it is correct to use the western order in English texts. (At least foreign people know which is which.)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Ten thumbs on August 10, 2013, 03:05:38 AM
In Hungary the surname is the first but I think it is correct to use the western order in English texts. (At least foreign people know which is which.)

I'm only making a wry comment, as the status quo will not change: Wien in still Vienna and Roma is still Rome.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Parsifal on August 10, 2013, 06:25:51 AM
I'm only making a wry pedantic comment, as the status quo will not change: Wien in still Vienna and Roma is still Rome.

I fixed it for you.

A person reading an English text has no way of knowing if a name that appears is that of a Hungarian or not.  If name ordering were determined by local custom rather than English convention, the reader would be unable to determine which is the surname and which the given name and the result would be confusion.  The status quo makes sense.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Klaze on August 19, 2013, 09:24:57 AM
I'm looking for recommendations for recordings of the Violin Concerti, to supplement the ones I've got by Menuhin and Dorati.
Preferably modern, or at least not too old.
I have my eyes on Zehetmair/Fischer, but have not really kept up to date with what's out there.

Thanks in advance!
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on August 19, 2013, 09:27:17 AM
I'm looking for recommendations for recordings of the Violin Concerti, to supplement the ones I've got by Menuhin and Dorati.
Preferably modern, or at least not too old.
I have my eyes on Zehetmair/Fischer, but have not really kept up to date with what's out there.

Thanks in advance!

Look no further than Isabelle Faust/Harding on Harmonia Mundi. Absolutely first-rate performances. Blows Zehetmair away! No joke. My other favorite is Chung/Solti.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Klaze on August 19, 2013, 11:06:33 AM
Faust, in the Bartok Concerti, that sounds like an excellent idea! Thanks.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on August 19, 2013, 11:18:51 AM
Faust, in the Bartok Concerti, that sounds like an excellent idea! Thanks.

Yes, you can't go wrong with these performances, Klaze.

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: DavidW on August 19, 2013, 12:41:26 PM
I'll bite, that cd is ordered.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on August 19, 2013, 03:53:50 PM
I'll bite, that cd is ordered.

Great choice. Let me know your impressions of it, Dave.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Roberto on August 20, 2013, 10:58:59 PM
I haven't heard Faust yet but based on the samples and making of video it seems great.
Dorati and Menuhin is good but too slow and soft for me. My first choice is this SACD:


As a bonus it contains both ending of the concerto.
It is from the Hungaroton's new Bartók series. Maybe the violin is a little bit closely miked but there is an unmatched power and passion in this performance. Zoltán Kocsis and the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra are the greatest Bartók performers today.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Klaze on August 21, 2013, 10:34:33 AM
Dorati and Menuhin is good but too slow and soft for me.

Yeah, plus I wanted something with better sound.
I will certainly keep your recommendation in mind!, I actually haven't heard anything conducted by Kocsis yet, but love his recordings of the piano works and concerti.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Roberto on August 21, 2013, 09:04:47 PM
I will certainly keep your recommendation in mind!, I actually haven't heard anything conducted by Kocsis yet, but love his recordings of the piano works and concerti.
Yes, his complete piano works for Decca (also included in the Hungaroton series) is great. I think he plays Bartók better than Bartók himself (I have the 6-disc Bartók plays Bartók set). Unfortunately the Bartók New Series is hard to find even in Hungary but it is worth to try if you can find it. I listened to Suite Nos. 1 and 2 at the weekend and I was fascinated by the performance and recording.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Klaze on August 22, 2013, 01:01:25 PM
Yes, his complete piano works for Decca (also included in the Hungaroton series) is great. I think he plays Bartók better than Bartók himself (I have the 6-disc Bartók plays Bartók set).

Interesting, I wasn't aware of that 6-disc set.
I have these two CDs (Pearl) of Bartók and Mrs Bartók (see below),
do you know if those are the same recordings also included in the 6CD set?
What i really would like to hear is him playing his Piano Sonata, but I don't think he ever recorded it, did he?


Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: snyprrr on August 22, 2013, 06:12:55 PM
What do you all think of the Kocsis Set?
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Roberto on August 22, 2013, 09:21:09 PM
Interesting, I wasn't aware of that 6-disc set.
I have these two CDs (Pearl) of Bartók and Mrs Bartók (see below),
do you know if those are the same recordings also included in the 6CD set?
What i really would like to hear is him playing his Piano Sonata, but I don't think he ever recorded it, did he?
I don't have the Pearl recordings, I have this 6 CD Hungaroton set:


I bought it years ago, now it is out of print. It contains all complete recordings of Bartók and I think it includes the recordings you have on Pearl CD (I don't have the complete track list and recording dates of the second album you mentioned). Hungaroton made quite good remastering (not too processed). Actually I was wrong because it is not "Bartók plays Bartók", it contains works from other composers too.
There is another 4 CD "Bartók plays" set:
(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0000/985/MI0000985584.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)
It contains homemade and private recordings but mainly just fragments from complete works so I didn't want to buy.
Unfortunately he didn't recorded his Piano Sonata.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Klaze on August 23, 2013, 12:43:56 AM
Thanks for the info Roberto

What do you all think of the Kocsis Set?

You mean for the solo piano works right? In general, I think Kocsis should be considered as the first choice, even if only for recorded sound quality. As Roberto mentioned, Bartok himself played his music a bit more gently, but I prefer Kocsis' way. I have the set by Sandor on Vox which I think is almost as good, but Kocsis is the more spectacular overall. Furthermore, they often don't divide stuff into separate tracks in the Sandor set, which is kind of annoying.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: snyprrr on August 23, 2013, 05:27:30 AM
Thanks for the info Roberto

You mean for the solo piano works right? In general, I think Kocsis should be considered as the first choice, even if only for recorded sound quality. As Roberto mentioned, Bartok himself played his music a bit more gently, but I prefer Kocsis' way. I have the set by Sandor on Vox which I think is almost as good, but Kocsis is the more spectacular overall. Furthermore, they often don't divide stuff into separate tracks in the Sandor set, which is kind of annoying.

Isn't there a third set on... Sony?? But yea, that Philips sound for Kocsis, yum yum.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Klaze on August 23, 2013, 05:51:24 AM
Yeah, Sandor also recorded a much later set for Sony. Never heard anything of that myself, but from what i recall, the general opinion was that the earlier Vox set is more energetic, and the later Sony a bit more on the refined side.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: OrchestralNut on November 16, 2013, 01:41:13 PM
Béla Bartók binge starting now...

with the string quartets!  :)

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 16, 2013, 06:30:43 PM
Béla Bartók binge starting now...

Nothing wrong with that! One of my absolute favorite composers! The only SQ set I own is the Takács Quartet which is the only cycle I felt I needed. How are the Emersons, Ray?
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: kyjo on November 16, 2013, 07:22:50 PM
Nothing wrong with that! One of my absolute favorite composers! The only SQ set I own is the Takács Quartet which is the only cycle I felt I needed. How are the Emersons, Ray?

I know you didn't ask me, John, but the Emersons are very good-certainly technically brilliant and razor-sharp in attack. But I prefer the Takacs by a slight margin because of the more emotional approach they take to the music. The same applies to the Emersons' recordings of the Shosty quartets (where I favor the Borodin Quartet).
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 16, 2013, 07:30:22 PM
I know you didn't ask me, John, but the Emersons are very good-certainly technically brilliant and razor-sharp in attack. But I prefer the Takacs by a slight margin because of the more emotional approach they take to the music. The same applies to the Emersons' recordings of the Shosty quartets (where I favor the Borodin Quartet).

Pretty much the same kind of criticism I've been reading about the Emersons over and over. Technically outstanding but lacking any kind of emotionality in their performances.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: kyjo on November 16, 2013, 07:39:58 PM
Pretty much the same kind of criticism I've been reading about the Emersons over and over. Technically outstanding but lacking any kind of emotionality in their performances.

Emotion isn't completely lacking in the Emersons' performances, but music such as Bartok's quartets that can easily become spiky and brittle needs to be infused with the kind of "heart" the Takacs Quartet give them.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 16, 2013, 07:46:18 PM
Emotion isn't completely lacking in the Emersons' performances, but music such as Bartok's quartets that can easily become spiky and brittle needs to be infused with the kind of "heart" the Takacs Quartet give them.

I see. Thanks for the feedback, Arthur...errr....Kyle. ;) :D
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: kyjo on November 16, 2013, 07:48:27 PM
I see. Thanks for the feedback, Arthur...errr....Kyle. ;) :D

Who's Arthur? :-\
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 16, 2013, 07:54:58 PM
Who's Arthur? :-\

Arthur Honegger.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: kyjo on November 16, 2013, 08:24:25 PM
Arthur Honegger.

Ah!

Bill Frisell? Who he? Did he write any symphonies? ;)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 16, 2013, 08:35:22 PM
Ah!

Bill Frisell? Who he? Did he write any symphonies? ;)

Now changed to the great legendary jazz pianist Bill Evans. A man who suffered through every note he played. One of the few pianists who I could listen to from sunrise to sunset.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: springrite on November 16, 2013, 08:42:31 PM
Now changed to the great legendary jazz pianist Bill Evans. A man who suffered through every note he played. One of the few pianists who I could listen to from sunrise to sunset.

That makes it more convenient for you to have "conversation with myself".
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 16, 2013, 08:44:58 PM
That makes it more convenient for you to have "conversation with myself".

;) :D I know!
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: kyjo on November 16, 2013, 08:58:00 PM
Now changed to the great legendary jazz pianist Bill Evans. A man who suffered through every note he played. One of the few pianists who I could listen to from sunrise to sunset.

I like jazz piano a lot, but I hardly have any of it in my CD collection! Besides Evans, who else would you recommend for a relative newbie to the greats of jazz piano?

P.S. Sorry Bartok! :-[
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 16, 2013, 09:13:13 PM
I like jazz piano a lot, but I hardly have any of it in my CD collection! Besides Evans, who else would you recommend for a relative newbie to the greats of jazz piano?

P.S. Sorry Bartok! :-[

Not to derail this thread any further. Check your inbox. :)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: springrite on November 16, 2013, 09:26:27 PM
Not to derail this thread any further. Check your inbox. :)
And check the ox on the roof…


Bought the Fine Art Quartet's set. Yet to receive it, though. I only have the Emerson so this is my first alternative set.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 16, 2013, 09:29:18 PM
And check the ox on the roof…

 :P
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: OrchestralNut on November 17, 2013, 05:34:36 AM
Nothing wrong with that! One of my absolute favorite composers! The only SQ set I own is the Takács Quartet which is the only cycle I felt I needed. How are the Emersons, Ray?

The Emersons are a fantastic set.  I have heard the Takacs recordings (although I don't own them), and I would say I enjoyed that set equally, but not more than the Emersons.

If I got a 2nd set down the road, it would definitely be the Takacs.

Overall, I am a very huge fan of the Emerson String Quartet.  Nothing I have listened to performed by ESQ I haven't profoundly enjoyed, with one exception (albeit a notable exception):  Their Shostakovich SQ cycle.  Lukewarm, was not able to 'get it'.

For Shostakovich string quartets, I turn to the Eder Quartet, Borodin Quartet and the Fitzwilliams.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 17, 2013, 07:57:43 AM
The Emersons are a fantastic set.  I have heard the Takacs recordings (although I don't own them), and I would say I enjoyed that set equally, but not more than the Emersons.

If I got a 2nd set down the road, it would definitely be the Takacs.

Overall, I am a very huge fan of the Emerson String Quartet.  Nothing I have listened to performed by ESQ I haven't profoundly enjoyed, with one exception (albeit a notable exception):  Their Shostakovich SQ cycle.  Lukewarm, was not able to 'get it'.

For Shostakovich string quartets, I turn to the Eder Quartet, Borodin Quartet and the Fitzwilliams.

Thanks for the feedback, Ray. :D
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: The new erato on November 17, 2013, 12:46:30 PM

For Shostakovich string quartets, I turn to the Eder Quartet, Borodin Quartet and the Fitzwilliams.
You should turn to the Pacifica.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: OrchestralNut on November 19, 2013, 05:34:26 PM
Back to Bartok, after being interrupted by Mozart and Beethoven.  :D

Divertimento, Sz113
Music for strings, percussion and celesta, Sz106
Danses populaires Roumaines, Sz56


Jean-Marie Zeitouni, conducting
Les Violons du Roy

Love this CD, one of my favourites!

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: amw on November 19, 2013, 05:46:33 PM
The Emersons are a fantastic set.  I have heard the Takacs recordings (although I don't own them), and I would say I enjoyed that set equally, but not more than the Emersons.

If I got a 2nd set down the road, it would definitely be the Takacs.

The Takacs is a superb set and one I will recommend to anyone. (Haven't heard the Emerson, but can imagine that it's equally good.) I grew up on it and it was, for a very long time, the standard by which I judged all the others. Most of the time no one else came even close.

That said, somewhere in my LP collection was a pristine copy of the Juilliard '63, which I finally opened and digitised a couple of years back.

I haven't listened to any other set since.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: OrchestralNut on November 19, 2013, 05:51:23 PM
The Takacs is a superb set and one I will recommend to anyone. (Haven't heard the Emerson, but can imagine that it's equally good.) I grew up on it and it was, for a very long time, the standard by which I judged all the others. Most of the time no one else came even close.

That said, somewhere in my LP collection was a pristine copy of the Juilliard '63, which I finally opened and digitised a couple of years back.

I haven't listened to any other set since.

Yes, I have heard very glowing reviews about the Julliard Bartok SQ cycle.  Some say it surpasses the Takacs and Emersons.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on November 19, 2013, 05:56:05 PM
Back to Bartok, after being interrupted by Mozart and Beethoven.  :D

Divertimento, Sz113
Music for strings, percussion and celesta, Sz106
Danses populaires Roumaines, Sz56


Jean-Marie Zeitouni, conducting
Les Violons du Roy

Love this CD, one of my favourites!



Looks very nice, Ray!
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: OrchestralNut on November 19, 2013, 05:57:15 PM
Looks very nice, Ray!

Indeed, a fine Canadian conductor, and an excellent Canadian chamber orchestra ensemble.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: amw on November 19, 2013, 06:12:30 PM
Yes, I have heard very glowing reviews about the Julliard Bartok SQ cycle.  Some say it surpasses the Takacs and Emersons.

Well, there are three Juilliard cycles, apparently, though I've not heard the other two (which are with different lineups i believe—my enjoyment of the Juilliard Quartet starts to diminish around 1975-80 or so, so I've never investigated). Possibly four. I don't know which one the reviews say is the best, but if you ask me, the '63 cycle is the Bartók string quartet cycle to have, though I feel kind of bad saying that because I also love the Takacs cycle and while I've never heard the Emersons in Bartók I do think a number of their other recordings are benchmarks. So I'm not going to say you should buy it immediately (it's not easy to find nowadays, anyway), but if you happen to come across it at a reasonable price, do consider it at least.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on November 20, 2013, 05:08:42 AM
The Emersons do divide opinion with their Bartók. (I love 'em.)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Roberto on November 20, 2013, 08:52:52 AM
Takacs Quartet has 2 recordings from the quartets actually.
The earlier on Hungaroton CDs by the original quartet (Gábor Takács was the prime violinist):



The later on Decca (I think you talk about it):


At that time Gábor Takács was not the member of the group.

Gábor Takács is now the prime violinist of the Mikrokosmos Quartet which was formed in order to play the Bartók quartets only. They recorded the quartets especially for the Hungaroton's New Bartók Series:


I have the first Hungaroton set and the New Bartók Series set. The second is quite different. In an interview Gábor Takács said that he is very proud of the first recording. It was my first Bartók SQ set and I like it very much. I talked about the quartets with the viola player of the Mikrokosmos quartet, Sándor Papp and he said that the first recording is good but there were many misprints in the score and the new recording based on the most authentic version of the score. There is a note in the booklet about the appropriate playing of these quartets which is based on Bartók's instructions so this is actually a HIP recording.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: EigenUser on February 24, 2014, 05:15:40 PM
I don't hesitate for a second to say that Bartok is my favorite composer, but I honestly haven't been able to get into his string quartets other than the 3rd SQ, which I enjoy.

For me, his masterpiece (i.e. the work that I connect with most) is his "Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta". Such a wide range of emotion and mood gets ample coverage in a short period of time. The first movement's fugue reminds me of the "Kyrie" from Ligeti's "Requiem". Parts of it remind me of some of the slower section from the score to Hitchcock's "Psycho". And the last movement -- Bartok throws all caution to the wind with joyful Bulgarian dance rhythms, then returns to a diatonic version of the fugue, then goes back to the dance stuff. A great fake-out ending, too  :laugh:. I love it.

Also, why isn't there an alliterative title for this thread, like "Bartok's Bowl of Goulash" or something similar?  >:(
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 24, 2014, 05:29:22 PM
I don't hesitate for a second to say that Bartok is my favorite composer, but I honestly haven't been able to get into his string quartets other than the 3rd SQ, which I enjoy.

For me, his masterpiece (i.e. the work that I connect with most) is his "Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta". Such a wide range of emotion and mood gets ample coverage in a short period of time. The first movement's fugue reminds me of the "Kyrie" from Ligeti's "Requiem". Parts of it remind me of some of the slower section from the score to Hitchcock's "Psycho". And the last movement -- Bartok throws all caution to the wind with joyful Bulgarian dance rhythms, then returns to a diatonic version of the fugue, then goes back to the dance stuff. A great fake-out ending, too  :laugh:. I love it.

Also, why isn't there an alliterative title for this thread, like "Bartok's Bowl of Goulash" or something similar?  >:(

Yes, I love Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta as well. Certainly one of his most outstanding orchestral works, but as I stated on another thread I would have a hard to picking between The Miraculous Mandarin and The Wooden Prince. Both of these ballets have such a different emotional temperature. The Miraculous Mandarin is more modern sounding, more gritty while The Wooden Prince is much more folksy and warmer. I just couldn't choose for this very reason.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: EigenUser on February 24, 2014, 05:35:18 PM
Yes, I love Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta as well. Certainly one of his most outstanding orchestral works, but as I stated on another thread I would have a hard to picking between The Miraculous Mandarin and The Wooden Prince. Both of these ballets have such a different emotional temperature. The Miraculous Mandarin is more modern sounding, more gritty while The Wooden Prince is much more folksy and warmer. I just couldn't choose for this very reason.
I've only heard the "Dance of the Trees" from "The Wooden Prince" and I liked it; just not as much as other stuff. I should listen to the whole thing sometime, but it's an hour long which is off-putting for me. "The Miraculous Mandarin", on the other hand, I find absolutely thrilling!
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 24, 2014, 05:57:38 PM
I've only heard the "Dance of the Trees" from "The Wooden Prince" and I liked it; just not as much as other stuff. I should listen to the whole thing sometime, but it's an hour long which is off-putting for me. "The Miraculous Mandarin", on the other hand, I find absolutely thrilling!

You have a short-attention span, eh? :) Listen to The Wooden Prince in sections at a time. This is probably the easiest way to do it if you're having problems with the work's duration. This said, if you could claim that Bartok is one of your favorites, then I find it incredibly hard to fathom how you could've let The Wooden Prince slip through the cracks? I'm sure you haven't heard any of his chamber music, have you? Have you heard Bluebeard's Castle? What some of the lesser-known works like Cantata Profana, Romanian Dances, Three Village Scenes, Two Portraits, Divertimento for Strings, etc.?
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: amw on February 24, 2014, 07:05:36 PM
I've only heard the "Dance of the Trees" from "The Wooden Prince" and I liked it; just not as much as other stuff. I should listen to the whole thing sometime, but it's an hour long which is off-putting for me.

Could always start with the Wooden Prince Suite (which is only about half as long). I have it on a disc with the Dance Suite and M4SP&C from Saraste/Toronto, but there are probably alternatives if you want to avoid duplicates.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Ken B on February 24, 2014, 07:56:27 PM
I've only heard the "Dance of the Trees" from "The Wooden Prince" and I liked it; just not as much as other stuff. I should listen to the whole thing sometime, but it's an hour long which is off-putting for me. "The Miraculous Mandarin", on the other hand, I find absolutely thrilling!
Mikrokosmos was made for the short attention span.

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 24, 2014, 09:14:14 PM
Mikrokosmos was made for the short attention span.

We're going to have to get EigenUser to listen to the full ballet of The Wooden Prince. I mean he could settle for the Suite, but why settle for less when the ballet in it's entirety is staring you right in the face? Go for it, EigenUser and may the force be with you! :)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: EigenUser on February 25, 2014, 07:01:21 AM
We're going to have to get EigenUser to listen to the full ballet of The Wooden Prince. I mean he could settle for the Suite, but why settle for less when the ballet in it's entirety is staring you right in the face? Go for it, EigenUser and may the force be with you! :)
I will listen to the whole ballet, don't you worry  :P . I'll probably put it on while I'm on GMG later today.

Ironically, I feel very similar about "Daphnis and Chloe" (in response to how you feel about TWP). The 1st and 2nd suite don't cut it for me at all and I'd much rather hear the whole thing, which is pretty much the same length. I think the reason that works is because themes are reused, but in totally different ways. This makes it constantly changing while still fairly easy to follow.

As for "The Miraculous Mandarin", I do listen to the suite, but this only cuts out some stuff at the end. The reason is more superficial than musical, though: I like the loud, dramatic ending of the suite!

Mikrokosmos was made for the short attention span.
Literally -- it was made for kids learning piano! I've been meaning to learn #153 (the last one) on piano because I've been working on Ligeti's "Fanfares" for the past six months and they have quite a few similarities.

By the way, someone should start a thread for suggestions of pieces fit for people not endowed with a standard attention span (like myself). I might do this later.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Ken B on February 25, 2014, 12:36:07 PM
By the way, someone should start a thread for suggestions of pieces fit for people not endowed with a standard attention span (like myself). I might do this later.
I recommend the following 4 pieces which are are really good for that and
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: EigenUser on February 25, 2014, 03:31:05 PM
I recommend the following 4 pieces which are are really good for that and
:laugh:

You have a short-attention span, eh? :) Listen to The Wooden Prince in sections at a time. This is probably the easiest way to do it if you're having problems with the work's duration. This said, if you could claim that Bartok is one of your favorites, then I find it incredibly hard to fathom how you could've let The Wooden Prince slip through the cracks? I'm sure you haven't heard any of his chamber music, have you? Have you heard Bluebeard's Castle? What some of the lesser-known works like Cantata Profana, Romanian Dances, Three Village Scenes, Two Portraits, Divertimento for Strings, etc.?

Forgot to answer this:
-"Bluebeard's Castle" -- I heard it once, and also parts of it were in "Leaving Home". It's okay, but I don't know of any operas that I like so I can't fairly judge this
-The string quartets -- I really like the 3rd (and some of the 2nd), but I've heard them all and don't really "get" them other than that
-"Divertimento for Strings" -- I love this piece! I arranged the 3rd movement (Allegro Assai) for violin and piano. It was never performed, but on the weekends in college my friend and I would play this just for fun (me on piano, him on violin).
-"Cantata Profana" -- I heard it once around the time I decided to listen to the opera. So-so for me.
-"Three Village Scenes" -- I'm not sure I know this one. He wrote several things called "X-Y" (where "X" is an integer and "Y" is something like "scenes", "pictures", "sketches") that it's hard to keep track of.
-"Two Portraits" -- This is what TWP reminds me of a little bit.

Some others:
-"44 Duos for Two Violins" -- I have very fond memories of playing through these in high school with my late violin teacher. Whenever I come across the one of the books he gave me with his address stamped on it, it brings a tear to my eye. On a less sentimental note, I have found these invaluable for my understanding of Bartok's music. Even though the first (out of two) book is fairly simple, they exhibit Bartok's proclivity to infuse modern harmonies into old folksong at a very fundamental level (since the "orchestration" is only for two violins)
-"Sonata" (for one piano, and no percussion  :D) -- I've tried learning this at several times throughout the past few years, but it's so much harder than it looks and sounds! I should get around to learning the whole thing one day. Unlike violin, I haven't taken piano lessons, so I have a tendency to dig myself into holes too deep for my poor technical skill to pull me out of.
-"Out of Doors" -- I could probably learn the first four, but the fifth ("The Chase") is wayyy "Out of Reach" for me.
-"Hungarian Sketches" -- Similar to the "Divertimento", I arranged the "Swineherd's Dance" for violin and piano. Except I changed the name to "Shepherd's Dance" (close enough) because the title reminded me too much of the swine flu  :D.
-"Dance Suite" -- We PLAYED THIS IN ORCHESTRA IN COLLEGE! When I was looking at colleges in high school, I met the conductor of the orchestra and he said he really wanted to play this. Right then, even though I wasn't going to study music, I knew where I wanted to go (well, not really, but I ended up going there for non-Bartok reasons). Also, I arranged the third movement (Allegro Vivace) for violin and piano.
-Violin Rhapsodies -- I played the 1st in high school (violin) and was going to learn the 2nd but I stopped lessons when I went to college.
-"Contrasts" -- I was planning to put this together in a chamber ensemble at my college so I learned the violin part well enough to start rehearsal. But, it fell through  :'( . I was furious. The 3rd movement cadenza rocks!

By the way, I find the Boosey&Hawkes covers of a lot of his sheet music a bit intimidating.
(http://d29ci68ykuu27r.cloudfront.net/product/190X400/5004154.jpg)
I mean, I like Bartok, but this is a bit too close.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Ken B on February 25, 2014, 04:43:24 PM
Slipping quietly through the Bartok crowd, the early music interloper sidled up to him with the short attention span and whispered but two words, Scarlatti sonatas, before melting back into the throng.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Ken B on February 25, 2014, 04:47:03 PM
Indeed, a fine Canadian conductor, and an excellent Canadian chamber orchestra ensemble.
"Double double": now it means hockey and curling
 8)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: EigenUser on February 25, 2014, 05:17:31 PM
Slipping quietly through the Bartok crowd, the early music interloper sidled up to him with the short attention span and whispered but two words, Scarlatti sonatas, before melting back into the throng.
Interesting. I've heard from several sources that Bartok was highly interested in the music of Scarlatti. All baroque, in general, but that name always comes up. I'm not sure if this amounts more to a personal opinion, but I think that Bartok's knowledge of baroque counterpoint is what makes his music so good (in terms of structure).
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 25, 2014, 07:00:05 PM
:laugh:

Forgot to answer this:
-"Bluebeard's Castle" -- I heard it once, and also parts of it were in "Leaving Home". It's okay, but I don't know of any operas that I like so I can't fairly judge this
-The string quartets -- I really like the 3rd (and some of the 2nd), but I've heard them all and don't really "get" them other than that
-"Divertimento for Strings" -- I love this piece! I arranged the 3rd movement (Allegro Assai) for violin and piano. It was never performed, but on the weekends in college my friend and I would play this just for fun (me on piano, him on violin).
-"Cantata Profana" -- I heard it once around the time I decided to listen to the opera. So-so for me.
-"Three Village Scenes" -- I'm not sure I know this one. He wrote several things called "X-Y" (where "X" is an integer and "Y" is something like "scenes", "pictures", "sketches") that it's hard to keep track of.
-"Two Portraits" -- This is what TWP reminds me of a little bit.

Some others:
-"44 Duos for Two Violins" -- I have very fond memories of playing through these in high school with my late violin teacher. Whenever I come across the one of the books he gave me with his address stamped on it, it brings a tear to my eye. On a less sentimental note, I have found these invaluable for my understanding of Bartok's music. Even though the first (out of two) book is fairly simple, they exhibit Bartok's proclivity to infuse modern harmonies into old folksong at a very fundamental level (since the "orchestration" is only for two violins)
-"Sonata" (for one piano, and no percussion  :D) -- I've tried learning this at several times throughout the past few years, but it's so much harder than it looks and sounds! I should get around to learning the whole thing one day. Unlike violin, I haven't taken piano lessons, so I have a tendency to dig myself into holes too deep for my poor technical skill to pull me out of.
-"Out of Doors" -- I could probably learn the first four, but the fifth ("The Chase") is wayyy "Out of Reach" for me.
-"Hungarian Sketches" -- Similar to the "Divertimento", I arranged the "Swineherd's Dance" for violin and piano. Except I changed the name to "Shepherd's Dance" (close enough) because the title reminded me too much of the swine flu  :D.
-"Dance Suite" -- We PLAYED THIS IN ORCHESTRA IN COLLEGE! When I was looking at colleges in high school, I met the conductor of the orchestra and he said he really wanted to play this. Right then, even though I wasn't going to study music, I knew where I wanted to go (well, not really, but I ended up going there for non-Bartok reasons). Also, I arranged the third movement (Allegro Vivace) for violin and piano.
-Violin Rhapsodies -- I played the 1st in high school (violin) and was going to learn the 2nd but I stopped lessons when I went to college.
-"Contrasts" -- I was planning to put this together in a chamber ensemble at my college so I learned the violin part well enough to start rehearsal. But, it fell through  :'( . I was furious. The 3rd movement cadenza rocks!

By the way, I find the Boosey&Hawkes covers of a lot of his sheet music a bit intimidating.
(http://d29ci68ykuu27r.cloudfront.net/product/190X400/5004154.jpg)
I mean, I like Bartok, but this is a bit too close.

You think Bluebeard's Castle is just 'okay' and that Cantata Profana is 'so so,' it's okay we can still be friends. ;D
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Ken B on February 25, 2014, 07:05:51 PM
You think Bluebeard's Castle is just 'okay' and that Cantata Profana is 'so so,' it's okay we can still be friends. ;D
He also thinks James is a great guy who makes perfect sense.

 >:D >:D  >:D >:D >:D >:D :laugh: >:D >:D >:D >:D >:D :blank:
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 25, 2014, 07:07:32 PM
He also thinks James is a great guy who makes perfect sense.

 >:D >:D  >:D >:D >:D >:D :laugh: >:D >:D >:D >:D >:D :blank:

Really? ??? Oh dear....
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: EigenUser on February 25, 2014, 07:16:02 PM
You think Bluebeard's Castle is just 'okay' and that Cantata Profana is 'so so,' it's okay we can still be friends. ;D
Well, I don't care much for opera or spoken (with words) vocal music (this may change in the future, of course). I have no idea why, but it's clear to me (and I'm sure to you  ;)) that the problem is with me and not with Bartok.

He also thinks James is a great guy who makes perfect sense.

 >:D >:D  >:D >:D >:D >:D :laugh: >:D >:D >:D >:D >:D :blank:
:-\ Well, I learned some stuff about Stockhausen which was nice, even though I didn't enjoy the music ("sounds cool", as I believe I put it, doesn't at all imply "enjoyed as art"). Stockhausen was a fascinating man, nonetheless.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: NJ Joe on February 25, 2014, 07:30:46 PM
I've only heard the "Dance of the Trees" from "The Wooden Prince" and I liked it; just not as much as other stuff. I should listen to the whole thing sometime, but it's an hour long which is off-putting for me. "The Miraculous Mandarin", on the other hand, I find absolutely thrilling!

May I recommend this:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61xvqoh%2BDOL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)

I am a huge Bartok fan, and this is one of my favorites. Boulez conducts a moving, emotional (yes, emotional!), magical performance that at times seems almost impressionistic in style. The CSO plays magnificently, and the recording is excellent. A desert island disc.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: EigenUser on February 25, 2014, 07:39:52 PM
May I recommend this:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61xvqoh%2BDOL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)

I am a huge Bartok fan, and this is one of my favorites. Boulez conducts a moving, emotional (yes, emotional!), magical performance that at times seems almost impressionistic in style. The CSO plays magnificently, and the recording is excellent. A desert island disc.
I was listening to this recording on YouTube and I liked it (more than "okay" or "so-so", MirrorImage  :P) ), but still not to the level that I like other Bartok. Definitely a good recording. I have "The Miraculous Mandarin" and "Dance Suite" from the same series. I love the cover art, too, for all of them!
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: EigenUser on February 25, 2014, 07:47:47 PM
Has anyone read this book by Bela's 2nd son, Peter? I got this a couple of years ago and it is really nicely done. Nothing is in a particular order, rather, it's just some very touching reminiscing.

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 25, 2014, 07:49:49 PM
Well, I don't care much for opera or spoken (with words) vocal music (this may change in the future, of course). I have no idea why, but it's clear to me (and I'm sure to you  ;)) that the problem is with me and not with Bartok.

Indeed, I'm just giving you a hard time. ;) ;D The only spoken words in Bluebeard's Castle are done at the beginning and this spoken introduction depends on whether the conductor wants to include it or not. Cantata Profana, to my knowledge, doesn't contain any spoken words. Everything is sung. I could be wrong of course.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 25, 2014, 07:50:54 PM
May I recommend this:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61xvqoh%2BDOL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)

I am a huge Bartok fan, and this is one of my favorites. Boulez conducts a moving, emotional (yes, emotional!), magical performance that at times seems almost impressionistic in style. The CSO plays magnificently, and the recording is excellent. A desert island disc.

+1
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: EigenUser on February 25, 2014, 07:56:38 PM
Indeed, I'm just giving you a hard time. ;) ;D The only spoken words in Bluebeard's Castle is done at the beginning and this spoken introduction depends on whether the conductor wants to include it or not. Cantata Profana, to my knowledge, doesn't contain any spoken words. Everything is sung. I could be wrong of course.
By spoken words I meant singing (I'm not talking about things like "A Survivor from Warsaw", which are literally spoken). I was differentiating between "lyrics" and voiced IPA sounds (i.e. Trois Nocturnes or Daphnis et Chloe). The only thing with lyrics that I like is "Sippal, Dobbal, Nadihegeduval". I'm sure my tastes will evolve over time to include other things as well, though.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Ken B on February 25, 2014, 08:01:38 PM
By spoken words I meant singing (I'm not talking about things like "A Survivor from Warsaw", which are literally spoken). I was differentiating between "lyrics" and voiced IPA sounds (i.e. Trois Nocturnes or Daphnis et Chloe). The only thing with lyrics that I like is "Sippal, Dobbal, Nadihegeduval". I'm sure my tastes will evolve over time to include other things as well, though.

Slipping quietly through the Bartok crowd, the early music interloper sidled up to him with the preference for being unable to make out words rather than just abstract syllables and whispered but three words, renaissance Latin masses, before melting back into the throng.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 25, 2014, 08:04:06 PM
By spoken words I meant singing (I'm not talking about things like "A Survivor from Warsaw", which are literally spoken). I was differentiating between "lyrics" and voiced IPA sounds (i.e. Trois Nocturnes or Daphnis et Chloe). The only thing with lyrics that I like is "Sippal, Dobbal, Nadihegeduval". I'm sure my tastes will evolve over time to include other things as well, though.

I understand. Yes, as you mature, I'm sure you're tastes will change. Mine are in constant evolution. BTW, why did you have to mention that incredibly nonsensical, but so much fun Ligeti work Sippal, Dobbal, Nadihegeduval. Now I want to listen to it and it's all your fault! >:( ;D
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: EigenUser on February 25, 2014, 08:08:01 PM
Oh, what a shame, now you have to listen to Sippal Dobbal. I'll get you started:
EGY
HEGY
MEGY
(http://rlv.zcache.com/bass_drum_marching_red_with_mallet_clear_head_photosculpture-rdd34ddc12cfb4a21889c6c8552b6c817_x7saw_8byvr_324.jpg) (http://rlv.zcache.com/bass_drum_marching_red_with_mallet_clear_head_photosculpture-rdd34ddc12cfb4a21889c6c8552b6c817_x7saw_8byvr_324.jpg) (http://rlv.zcache.com/bass_drum_marching_red_with_mallet_clear_head_photosculpture-rdd34ddc12cfb4a21889c6c8552b6c817_x7saw_8byvr_324.jpg)

 ;D
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 25, 2014, 08:11:15 PM
Oh, what a shame, now you have to listen to Sippal Dobbal. I'll get you started:
EGY
HEGY
MEGY
(http://rlv.zcache.com/bass_drum_marching_red_with_mallet_clear_head_photosculpture-rdd34ddc12cfb4a21889c6c8552b6c817_x7saw_8byvr_324.jpg) (http://rlv.zcache.com/bass_drum_marching_red_with_mallet_clear_head_photosculpture-rdd34ddc12cfb4a21889c6c8552b6c817_x7saw_8byvr_324.jpg) (http://rlv.zcache.com/bass_drum_marching_red_with_mallet_clear_head_photosculpture-rdd34ddc12cfb4a21889c6c8552b6c817_x7saw_8byvr_324.jpg)

 ;D

 :P
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: North Star on February 25, 2014, 10:31:49 PM
Oh, what a shame, now you have to listen to Sippal Dobbal. I'll get you started:
EGY   HEGY    MEGY
(http://rlv.zcache.com/bass_drum_marching_red_with_mallet_clear_head_photosculpture-rdd34ddc12cfb4a21889c6c8552b6c817_x7saw_8byvr_324.jpg) (http://rlv.zcache.com/bass_drum_marching_red_with_mallet_clear_head_photosculpture-rdd34ddc12cfb4a21889c6c8552b6c817_x7saw_8byvr_324.jpg) (http://rlv.zcache.com/bass_drum_marching_red_with_mallet_clear_head_photosculpture-rdd34ddc12cfb4a21889c6c8552b6c817_x7saw_8byvr_324.jpg)

 ;D
This is very mature indeed  8)
thread duty: Listening to Sippal, dobbal, nádihegedüvel...

Hmm, perhaps you should try Janacek's Rikadla!
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 26, 2014, 08:44:29 PM
Really enjoying this set so far:

(http://losslessclassics.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/dorati_bartok_orchestral_works.jpg)

Does anyone else here own this set or the individual releases? Any opinion of it? I own some of Dorati's Bartok performances on Decca prior to getting this Mercury set and have always enjoyed what he brings to the table: completely sympathetic, energetic, and passionate interpretations.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: pjme on February 27, 2014, 01:18:11 AM
last year, Belgo-Hungarian Levente Kende played all Bartok's pianomusic in recitals ( 3X ca 3 hours!)

This recent double cd has a fair selection .

(http://www.cobra.be/polopoly_fs/1.1846617!image/1871755368.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape190/1871755368.jpg)

Peter
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: NJ Joe on February 27, 2014, 05:44:30 PM
Really enjoying this set so far:

(http://losslessclassics.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/dorati_bartok_orchestral_works.jpg)

Does anyone else here own this set or the individual releases? Any opinion of it? I own some of Dorati's Bartok performances on Decca prior to getting this Mercury set and have always enjoyed what he brings to the table: completely sympathetic, energetic, and passionate interpretations.

I have this set, and like you I owned two of the individual releases prior to this purchase.  While I probably prefer other individual performances of some of the works, as a whole, this is a solid set. There's passion in every performance, not a dud in the bunch. This set contains the only performance of the Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion that I own, and for me that was almost worth the price alone.  An excellent overview of the composer.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 27, 2014, 06:16:07 PM
I have this set, and like you I owned two of the individual releases prior to this purchase.  While I probably prefer other individual performances of some of the works, as a whole, this is a solid set. There's passion in every performance, not a dud in the bunch. This set contains the only performance of the Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion that I own, and for me that was almost worth the price alone.  An excellent overview of the composer.

This is what I'm finding out. There wasn't one bad performance on the first disc. Now onto the second disc...
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: NJ Joe on March 01, 2014, 02:21:33 PM
This is what I'm finding out. There wasn't one bad performance on the first disc. Now onto the second disc...

After reading these posts I was inspired to listen to The Miraculous Mandarin from this set, and then all the others I own.  I was especially liking this one: 

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/412W33WQ7NL._SX300_.jpg)

How about you, MI? Heard this one? Which one(s) do you prefer? Of course, anyone else is welcome to chime in!
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: North Star on March 01, 2014, 04:39:00 PM
After reading these posts I was inspired to listen to The Miraculous Mandarin from this set, and then all the others I own.  I was especially liking this one: 

How about you, MI? Heard this one? Which one(s) do you prefer? Of course, anyone else is welcome to chime in!
I think that John has heard it as probably as kittens have whiskers.. ;)
Dohnanyi is John's no. 1.

I'll need to revisit Dorati & Menuhin'sBartók - I have the VC1 / VaC / Rhapsodies disc on EMI (with Boulez in the Rhapsody No.1)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 01, 2014, 06:18:19 PM
After reading these posts I was inspired to listen to The Miraculous Mandarin from this set, and then all the others I own.  I was especially liking this one: 

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/412W33WQ7NL._SX300_.jpg)

How about you, MI? Heard this one? Which one(s) do you prefer? Of course, anyone else is welcome to chime in!

Karlo (North Star) is correct is saying that Dohnanyi/VPO on Decca is my favorite Mandarin. There are, however, so many fine performances to choose from but I prefer not only the precision and articulation in the Dohnanyi performance but the VPO really cuts loose here and, to my ears, it really takes this performance to a completely other level altogether.

Other favorites: Boulez/NY Phil. (Sony), Fischer/Budapest Festival Orchestra (Philips)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: NJ Joe on March 01, 2014, 06:38:37 PM
Karlo (North Star) is correct is saying that Dohnanyi/VPO on Decca is my favorite Mandarin. There are, however, so many fine performances to choose from but I prefer not only the precision and articulation in the Dohnanyi performance but the VPO really cuts loose here and, to my ears, it really takes this performance to a completely other level altogether.

Other favorites: Boulez/NY Phil. (Sony), Fischer/Budapest Festival Orchestra (Philips)

Thanks, I will have to check out Dohnanyi.  I have Fischer and although it's considered by many to be one of the finest versions, I have yet to "get it" about the performance.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 01, 2014, 06:56:53 PM
Thanks, I will have to check out Dohnanyi.  I have Fischer and although it's considered by many to be one of the finest versions, I have yet to "get it" about the performance.

Happy to oblige. 8)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: EigenUser on March 04, 2014, 05:49:46 AM
Fricsay like Dorati is a natural for this but Anda was usually much more feminine a player. More a fit for 3 than 2 yet his 2 is ferpect. I loved his Mozart but like a little more firmness now. Anyway 2 is my favourite and this is my favourite 2.
Update. No longer own. Part of the great vinyl sell off.  :'(
I have trouble deciding if PC1 or PC2 is my favorite -- it is whatever one I'm listening to at the time. Anda/Fricsay is definitely my favorite of PC2, but I will be blunt in saying that they do a lousy job in PC1 (it really sounds under-rehearsed) except in the 2nd movement. The BBC takes the 2nd movement way too fast for my taste and I love Anda's interpretation here. My remedy? I made a playlist with PC1 with the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd movements played by BBC, Anda, and BBC, respectively. Quirky? Probably. But, it makes me happy :P.

As for PC2, I haven't heard a more magical version of the 2nd movement than the Anda/Fricsay.

Any opinions on the Violin Rhapsodies? Not necessarily recordings, but the compositions themselves?
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Ken B on March 04, 2014, 09:03:24 AM
I have trouble deciding if PC1 or PC2 is my favorite -- it is whatever one I'm listening to at the time. Anda/Fricsay is definitely my favorite of PC2, but I will be blunt in saying that they do a lousy job in PC1 (it really sounds under-rehearsed) except in the 2nd movement. The BBC takes the 2nd movement way too fast for my taste and I love Anda's interpretation here. My remedy? I made a playlist with PC1 with the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd movements played by BBC, Anda, and BBC, respectively. Quirky? Probably. But, it makes me happy :P.

As for PC2, I haven't heard a more magical version of the 2nd movement than the Anda/Fricsay.

Any opinions on the Violin Rhapsodies? Not necessarily recordings, but the compositions themselves?
In 1 Bartok never really solved the problem of what to do with a folk melody once you've played it.
   Play it louder as RVW said. I see 1 as an encore piece but nothing more.
2 I like a lot more. It has the folk elements but doesn't have the strophic structure problem the other has.
Much more interesting.

Is that too pretentious a way to say 1 yawn, 2 I like? :)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: EigenUser on March 04, 2014, 09:17:42 AM
No, I see what you mean. I like both of them and I've played the first rhapsody before. I think that the melody in the second part sounds a lot like the American folksong "Simple Gifts". The second rhapsody is definitely harder and more complicated (both musically and technically). I just started working on it when I stopped violin lessons. There would have definitely been some major obstacles that would have required a lot of dedication. The first one had some very difficult sections as well, but the second one was mostly a series of difficult sections.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Roberto on March 22, 2014, 11:35:49 PM
As for "The Miraculous Mandarin", I do listen to the suite, but this only cuts out some stuff at the end. The reason is more superficial than musical, though: I like the loud, dramatic ending of the suite!
Loud ending is good but the ending of the full ballet is much more impressive for me.

Quote
I've heard from several sources that Bartok was highly interested in the music of Scarlatti.
It is true and actually there are recordings about Bartók plays Scarlatti.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: EigenUser on March 24, 2014, 05:53:05 AM
So, tomorrow (March 25th) is Bartok's birthday. Any plans to celebrate?  :D

It falls conveniently on my parents' anniversary, so we'll be going out to dinner  :laugh: .
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Ken B on March 24, 2014, 06:02:07 AM
So, tomorrow (March 25th) is Bartok's birthday. Any plans to celebrate?  :D

It falls conveniently on my parents' anniversary, so we'll be going out to dinner  :laugh: .
Endless replays of the Shostakovich 7th are out I suppose?
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: EigenUser on March 24, 2014, 06:04:37 AM
Endless replays of the Shostakovich 7th are out I suppose?

Unless it's from the 4th movement of the CFO, of course.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 24, 2014, 06:58:41 AM
I suppose I could do some celebrating. I do have Kocsis' Hungaroton orchestral recordings still en route, so if I get them today or tomorrow, I'll definitely listen to some of the performances. If not, then I'll listen to something conducted by Fischer, Boulez, Solti, Dorati, etc. Lots to choose from here.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 24, 2014, 02:24:35 PM
Received this order in the mail today:

(http://www.bartoknewseries.com/f/bus9_1.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51S96cMhuYL.jpg)

(http://www.naxos.com/sharedfiles/images/cds/hires/HSACD32505.jpg) (http://www.naxos.com/sharedfiles/images/cds/hires/HSACD32506.jpg)

(http://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/22/10/5991813251022_600.jpg) (http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_400/MI0001/139/MI0001139731.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

I've only heard the Rumanian Dances, Suite No. 2, Dance Suite disc so far and I thought it was so outstanding that these recordings may end up becoming my reference performances. It's too bad Kocsis didn't record The Miraculous Mandarin. I'm hoping this series isn't finished yet, but I have all the orchestral recordings so far. Really pleased with this purchase and this was part of my birthday splurge.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Roberto on March 25, 2014, 05:23:05 AM
I've only heard the Rumanian Dances, Suite No. 2, Dance Suite disc so far and I thought it was so outstanding that these recordings may end up becoming my reference performances. It's too bad Kocsis didn't record The Miraculous Mandarin. I'm hoping this series isn't finished yet, but I have all the orchestral recordings so far. Really pleased with this purchase and this was part of my birthday splurge.
:)
I hope you will be pleased with all of these recordings. I have the entire Bartók New Series released so far and these are truly reference recordings. My special favorites are the Wooden Prince, the two Suites, 2nd Violin Concerto. I like the good booklets also. The 2nd suite is full of power and lyricism. Unfortunately based on the news there was personal problems in the BNS committee and it is possible it will be unfinished.  :'(
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 25, 2014, 05:24:01 AM
I don't think I realized before how well documented Bartók's face is, in photographs  ;)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 25, 2014, 06:40:44 AM
:)
I hope you will be pleased with all of these recordings. I have the entire Bartók New Series released so far and these are truly reference recordings. My special favorites are the Wooden Prince, the two Suites, 2nd Violin Concerto. I like the good booklets also. The 2nd suite is full of power and lyricism. Unfortunately based on the news there was personal problems in the BNS committee and it is possible it will be unfinished.  :'(

Absolutely agreed. The booklets are laid out great with loads of historical photos. That's a shame that the series won't get completed. :(
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 25, 2014, 06:42:15 AM
I don't think I realized before how well documented Bartók's face is, in photographs  ;)

 :P
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 25, 2014, 06:42:47 AM
He was a handsome devil!
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: bwv 1080 on April 21, 2014, 12:32:04 PM
Contents:
The Miraculous Mandarin, Op. 19, Sz. 73 (suite)
Duke Bluebeard's Castle, Sz. 48, Op. 11
Concerto for Orchestra, BB 123, Sz.116
The Wooden Prince
Dance Suite, BB 86, Sz. 77
3 Village Scenes, BB 87b, Sz. 79
Four Orchestral Pieces Op. 12 (Sz 51)
Music for Strings, Percussion & Celesta, BB 114, Sz. 106




Are the NY  Phil recordings worth the higher price than the DG Chicago set?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002DZX958/ref=dm_ws_ps_cdp?ie=UTF8&qid=1398115798&s=music&sr=1-6
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Todd on April 21, 2014, 12:37:50 PM
Are the NY  Phil recordings worth the higher price than the DG Chicago set?



No.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: North Star on April 21, 2014, 12:40:50 PM
Are the NY  Phil recordings worth the higher price than the DG Chicago set?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002DZX958/ref=dm_ws_ps_cdp?ie=UTF8&qid=1398115798&s=music&sr=1-6
The Sony set is $11.58 on the marketplace, though.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: OrchestralNut on July 18, 2014, 08:10:41 AM
It's been awhile,  Béla.  Listening to my favourite Bartók disc:

Divertimento, Sz 113

Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, Sz106

Danses Populaires Roumaines, Sz56


Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 18, 2014, 08:15:45 AM
Very nice, Ray!
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Scion7 on July 18, 2014, 04:48:04 PM
Well, Bela had to be handsome and much going for him to snag his first love (that he wrote the Violin concerto Nr.1 for) - she was gorgeous.  :-)  The first movement of that concerto - which he stuffed in a drawer and was published posthumously - says it all about her and how he felt.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mandryka on September 20, 2014, 10:48:19 PM
I've just uploaded Iva Bittova and Dorothea Kellerova's CD of the 44 Duos on symphonyshare - well worth taking if you've got an open mind. Let me know if you want me to let you have it through a PM.

I intend to put Wanda Wikomirska and Mihaly Szucs's performance there later today.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: The new erato on September 21, 2014, 12:33:06 AM
Well, Bela had to be handsome and much going for him to snag his first love (that he wrote the Violin concerto Nr.1 for) - she was gorgeous.  :-)  The first movement of that concerto - which he stuffed in a drawer and was published posthumously - says it all about her and how he felt.
I'm getting Princess Leya associations here;

(http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y266/EmilyLiz/GeyerStefi-1.jpg)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: EigenUser on September 21, 2014, 02:34:25 AM
I've just uploaded Iva Bittova and Dorothea Kellerova's CD of the 44 Duos on symphonyshare - well worth taking if you've got an open mind. Let me know if you want me to let you have it through a PM.

I intend to put Wanda Wikomirska and Mihaly Szucs's performance there later today.

This may prove to be a controversial statement, but I think that the set of 44 violin duos is among the most important work in his repertoire. No one talks about it here on GMG! To me, this is where he shares his secrets of reconciling folk music with 20C harmonies and rhythms. It is like he is saying "See? These asymmetric rhythms and biting dissonances are nothing new! These people who are often labeled as 'primitive' or 'simple' have been using these in music for hundreds of years!"

Plus, as a violinist, they are a blast to play through with friends. For instance, the Serbian Dance of book 4 is easy to play individually, but playing together is challenging -- especially toward the ending. My friend and I were working on it once a few years ago and usually fell apart at the end most of the time. It was all fun, though, and we always ended up laughing.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mandryka on September 22, 2014, 06:41:41 AM
This may prove to be a controversial statement, but I think that the set of 44 violin duos is among the most important work in his repertoire. No one talks about it here on GMG! To me, this is where he shares his secrets of reconciling folk music with 20C harmonies and rhythms. It is like he is saying "See? These asymmetric rhythms and biting dissonances are nothing new! These people who are often labeled as 'primitive' or 'simple' have been using these in music for hundreds of years!"

Plus, as a violinist, they are a blast to play through with friends. For instance, the Serbian Dance of book 4 is easy to play individually, but playing together is challenging -- especially toward the ending. My friend and I were working on it once a few years ago and usually fell apart at the end most of the time. It was all fun, though, and we always ended up laughing.

You know this juxtaposes the duos with Bartok's folk music recordings?

(http://www.thewholenote.com/images/stories/2001-sep2014/september_discoveries_scans/September%20DISCoveries%20Scans/03%20Classical/Robbins/Robbins_02_Bartok_duos.jpg)


Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: EigenUser on September 22, 2014, 06:48:48 AM
You know this juxtaposes the duos with Bartok's folk music recordings?

(http://www.thewholenote.com/images/stories/2001-sep2014/september_discoveries_scans/September%20DISCoveries%20Scans/03%20Classical/Robbins/Robbins_02_Bartok_duos.jpg)
That's pretty cool. Kind of like the Emerson SQ 2xrecording the Mendelssohn Octet.

I've tried to do this before with a few of the 44 Duos, but it isn't easy, especially with only Garage Band and a cheap microphone.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: North Star on September 22, 2014, 06:54:10 AM
That's pretty cool. Kind of like the Emerson SQ 2xrecording the Mendelssohn Octet.
Huh?
They've recorded the duos there (as a normal duo) and transcriptions of the folk song recordings. No gimmicks as far as I can tell..
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mandryka on September 22, 2014, 06:55:37 AM
Huh?
They've recorded the duos there (as a normal duo) and transcriptions of the folk song recordings. No gimmicks as far as I can tell..

Correct. If you want gimmicks then I can make some suggestions there. What I found interesting was just to hear what Bartok does with the folk tunes - I've ony listened casually I should say. I'm not a scholar of this.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: EigenUser on November 01, 2014, 03:02:35 AM
I heard Ozawa's The Miraculous Mandarin last night and was blown away. Very savage. I am already a big fan of his RoS so I don't know why I didn't seek this out earlier. Ozawa doesn't get much mention on GMG, but he was one of the first major names in conducting that I heard of.

You know this juxtaposes the duos with Bartok's folk music recordings?

(http://www.thewholenote.com/images/stories/2001-sep2014/september_discoveries_scans/September%20DISCoveries%20Scans/03%20Classical/Robbins/Robbins_02_Bartok_duos.jpg)
That's pretty cool. Kind of like the Emerson SQ 2xrecording the Mendelssohn Octet.

I've tried to do this before with a few of the 44 Duos, but it isn't easy, especially with only Garage Band and a cheap microphone.
Wow, I just realized that I totally misunderstood the point of this post over a month ago. This is really cool. I heard one original field recording (on YT) and it was very interesting.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Ken B on November 01, 2014, 08:04:23 AM
I heard Ozawa's The Miraculous Mandarin last night and was blown away. Very savage. I am already a big fan of his RoS so I don't know why I didn't seek this out earlier. Ozawa doesn't get much mention on GMG, but he was one of the first major names in conducting that I heard of.
Wow, I just realized that I totally misunderstood the point of this post over a month ago. This is really cool. I heard one original field recording (on YT) and it was very interesting.

Yes, I'm an Ozawa fan too.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on November 01, 2014, 03:35:50 PM
When he is (was?) in the zone, he was excellent.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on March 02, 2015, 08:57:04 PM
BUMP

Possibly a mistake?  Or did she record the chamber work twice?  I only know of her recording of the Sonata for Two Pianos (sans orchestra) with Stephen Kovacevich (which is included in the 2CD set pictured).  Also included in that recording is the version with orchestra, with I think Nelson Freire.

Argerich actually did record the piece twice but the first is, as you say, with Kovacevich. The second recording is on DG and is with Freire.

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: EigenUser on March 03, 2015, 01:09:48 AM
BUMP

Possibly a mistake?  Or did she record the chamber work twice?  I only know of her recording of the Sonata for Two Pianos (sans orchestra) with Stephen Kovacevich (which is included in the 2CD set pictured).  Also included in that recording is the version with orchestra, with I think Nelson Freire.
That Argerich recording of the Double Concerto is great.

I have an interesting relationship with the Bartok double.
1. I think that the ideas in the piece are brilliant in either sonata or double concerto form. Combining pianos with percussion really gives an insight on his use of the piano as a percussion instrument (which he also highly emphasized in his 'piano year' of 1926, including the Sonata for solo piano, Out of Doors, and the Piano Concerto No. 1).
2. I strongly prefer the more intimate (original) chamber setting for the first and second movements, no contest.
3. I prefer the more grandiose double concerto setting for the third movement.
4. In general, I think his orchestration is lazy. He could have done more with the orchestration. I have the score and there are so many empty measures in the orchestra part it makes you wonder why he even bothered orchestrating it in the first place.

It is probably one of my favorite Bartok pieces overall, so I am perhaps being too nit-picky.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Moonfish on March 28, 2015, 02:15:37 PM
Bartók: Piano Concertos Nos 1, 2* & 3               Kovacevich/London SO/ BBC SO*/Colin Davis

Hmm, the second movement of Concerto No 2 was intriguing. However, I think I have to get used to Bartók's music... I kind of prefer when the piano is not involved in these concertos (kind of defeating the whole idea of it being a piano concerto)  and I simply want to take in the orchestra's performance on its own! Go figure! The Third Piano Concerto was definitely the one I attuned to the most. Perhaps it was more linked to the realm of romanticism and harmony than the other two?

I am now digging further into Bartók's work by serendipity so perhaps the Piano Concertos was not the best place to start? I'm glad that I finished with the 3rd concerto as it left a promising undertow in my mind. I do not really enjoy cacophony in my listening sessions and as a consequence I have avoided plenty of 20th century music. However, Bartók inspired me a few months ago with "Bluebeard's Castle" [A kékszakállú herceg vára], which I kept listening to over and over (the Sawallisch rendition). Great stuff!

I understand that the SQs are the ultimate gateway to Bartók? True?

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Sergeant Rock on March 28, 2015, 02:55:19 PM
I understand that the SQs are the ultimate gateway to Bartók? True?

For some of us, no. I've been trying for 40 years to get into them and have not succeeded. They are not easy going. Better to try:

The ballets (Mandarin, Wooden Prince)
Concerto for Orchestra
Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta
The Violin Concertos
The Dance Suite
Hungarian Sketches
Romanian Folk Dances

Sarge
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: EigenUser on March 28, 2015, 04:25:28 PM
Bartók: Piano Concertos Nos 1, 2* & 3               Kovacevich/London SO/ BBC SO*/Colin Davis

Hmm, the second movement of Concerto No 2 was intriguing. However, I think I have to get used to Bartók's music... I kind of prefer when the piano is not involved in these concertos (kind of defeating the whole idea of it being a piano concerto)  and I simply want to take in the orchestra's performance on its own! Go figure! The Third Piano Concerto was definitely the one I attuned to the most. Perhaps it was more linked to the realm of romanticism and harmony than the other two?

I am now digging further into Bartók's work by serendipity so perhaps the Piano Concertos was not the best place to start? I'm glad that I finished with the 3rd concerto as it left a promising undertow in my mind. I do not really enjoy cacophony in my listening sessions and as a consequence I have avoided plenty of 20th century music. However, Bartók inspired me a few months ago with "Bluebeard's Castle" [A kékszakállú herceg vára], which I kept listening to over and over (the Sawallisch rendition). Great stuff!

I understand that the SQs are the ultimate gateway to Bartók? True?


Perhaps if you like the slow movement of the 2nd PC you should try the Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta (in particular, the incredibly complex and foreboding fugue that opens the piece). I'd bet you'd like it.

The 2nd VC is along the lines of the 3rd PC, so try that, too. And everyone likes the Concerto for Orchestra! ;D
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Jo498 on March 28, 2015, 11:53:06 PM
I think the 3 mvmt of "music for..." was also used in movies. It is an even stranger "soundscape" than the slow mvmt of the 2nd piano concerto.
His string quartets and violins sonatas are tough. Certainly worth it but probably better to leave them for later. For some reason I find the 4th and 5th string quartet far easier going than the first three.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: EigenUser on March 29, 2015, 01:17:57 AM
I think the 3 mvmt of "music for..." was also used in movies. It is an even stranger "soundscape" than the slow mvmt of the 2nd piano concerto.
His string quartets and violins sonatas are tough. Certainly worth it but probably better to leave them for later. For some reason I find the 4th and 5th string quartet far easier going than the first three.
The 3rd movement of MSPC was used in Kubrick's The Shining quite extensively. Definitely a strange soundscape. That quiet celesta/violin melody accompanied by violin trills and glissandi gives me goosebumps. Beyond eerie. And the timpani roll/glissandi (technique invented by Bartok) is stomach-churning (in a good, creepy way -- like watching a good horror movie!). And the relentless xylophone 'clicks' that open the movement... MSPC is my favorite piece ever (literally, it would appear as No. 1 on a list for me). Has been for years.

I should say that I still don't care for the SQs (other than the 3rd one, but that one is wild!) and BB is my favorite composer. Honestly, though, just listen to the Concerto for Orchestra next if you are unsure. I highly doubt that you will have a problem with it.

I'm from the DC area and the National Symphony Orchestra loves to program the CFO. They cater to a mostly musically-conservative audience (sadly, but that's a different story), but it seems to pop up every other year or so. It is very likeable. It was my first introduction to orchestral Bartok, as well (ten years ago!).
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Jo498 on March 29, 2015, 01:27:01 AM
I'd say the most accessible of the mature works are concerto for orchestra, dance suite, divertimento and the 3rd piano concerto.

MSPC took a little longer for me but it is an extremely great piece and I can easily understand that it is your favorite. Of the string quartets I'd say the 3rd is the hardest...
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Christo on March 29, 2015, 01:56:16 AM
For some of us, no. I've been trying for 40 years to get into them and have not succeeded. They are not easy going. Better to try:

The ballets (Mandarin, Wooden Prince)
Concerto for Orchestra
Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta
The Violin Concertos
The Dance Suite
Hungarian Sketches
Romanian Folk Dances

Sarge

Exactly my choices, too. And the piano concertos and Divertimento. Though I have nothing against the SQs either (once played the whole series for a while and still like them very much, as far as SQs go :-)).
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: NJ Joe on March 29, 2015, 05:18:32 AM
I've always enjoyed the quartets to a degree. In October, 2013, I saw the Tackacs Quartet perform the complete string quartets over two successive nights. Although my appreciation for them increased, I've never been able to achieve the "oneness" I attained with them during those performances. I've only been able to hint at it. It's frustrating, but I'm not giving up.

On a side note, I brought my then nine year old daughter to the second night.  She was so sweet and poised and charming and kind to me about the whole thing. I told her if she could get through them, she could get through anything.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 29, 2015, 06:15:25 AM
Bartók: Piano Concertos Nos 1, 2* & 3               Kovacevich/London SO/ BBC SO*/Colin Davis

Hmm, the second movement of Concerto No 2 was intriguing. However, I think I have to get used to Bartók's music... I kind of prefer when the piano is not involved in these concertos (kind of defeating the whole idea of it being a piano concerto)  and I simply want to take in the orchestra's performance on its own! Go figure! The Third Piano Concerto was definitely the one I attuned to the most. Perhaps it was more linked to the realm of romanticism and harmony than the other two?

I am now digging further into Bartók's work by serendipity so perhaps the Piano Concertos was not the best place to start? I'm glad that I finished with the 3rd concerto as it left a promising undertow in my mind. I do not really enjoy cacophony in my listening sessions and as a consequence I have avoided plenty of 20th century music. However, Bartók inspired me a few months ago with "Bluebeard's Castle" [A kékszakállú herceg vára], which I kept listening to over and over (the Sawallisch rendition). Great stuff!

I understand that the SQs are the ultimate gateway to Bartók? True?



No, I don't agree that the SQs are some kind of gateway into Bartok's music. I think the Violin Sonatas get us much more closer to the man than the SQs IMHO. But my favorite Bartok are the orchestral works with particular highlights for me being Piano Concerti No. 2 & 3, Violin Concerto No. 2, Dance Suite, The Miraculous Mandarin, The Wooden Prince, Cantata Profana, Bluebeard's Castle, Divertimento, Hungarian Sketches, Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta, and more recently the Concerto for Orchestra, which, for some odd reason, is a work I had always struggled with, but after hearing the Boulez/NY Philharmonic performance on Columbia, my appreciation of the work skyrocketed.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: NJ Joe on March 29, 2015, 06:27:37 AM
the Concerto for Orchestra, which, for some odd reason, is a work I had always struggled with, but after hearing the Boulez/NY Philharmonic performance on Columbia, my appreciation of the work skyrocketed.

That is an electrifying performance!

The Concerto for Orchestra has long been a favorite of mine. I first heard it, I believe, on a recording with Ozawa/Chicago.  Being familiar with it, I then saw the Detroit Symphony perform it with Dorati conducting back in the early 80's, and it imprinted on me.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 29, 2015, 06:34:45 AM
That is an electrifying performance!

The Concerto for Orchestra has long been a favorite of mine. I first heard it, I believe, on a recording with Ozawa/Chicago.  Being familiar with it, I then saw the Detroit Symphony perform it with Dorati conducting back in the early 80's, and it imprinted on me.

Yeah, it certainly deserves all the accolades attached to it. A masterwork for sure.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 29, 2015, 06:37:10 AM
These little pieces are some of my favorites works.  Bartok is generally hit or miss with me but these works never fail to provide me with enjoyment.

I could have mentioned these smaller works like Three Village Scenes, Romanian Folk Dances, Two Portraits, etc. as I love these works as well.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on March 29, 2015, 08:09:19 AM
My two cents is the string quartets rock & roll. They may be my favorite Bartók. Now, my preferred set of the quartets is the Végh stereo set last seen on Naïve. Unfortunately it's low on exposure around here (Jens excepted) but should be sought out for those wondering what all the Bartók string quartet fuss is about.   

Also, MI made a good point about the violin sonatas - they're absolutely top-shelf as well.


Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Todd on March 29, 2015, 08:54:50 AM
Faust is my current favorite in the sonatas. 

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71I4go-IimL._SY255_.jpg)

But I haven't really looked around for other soloists.  Any other suggestions?



(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51P8%2Bm-EpRL._SS425.jpg)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/511I%2BVPtxNL._SY425_.jpg)

One of the best Naxos releases I've heard.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51GSvR8M6tL._SX425_.jpg)

Zsigmondy was one of Faust's teachers.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on March 29, 2015, 07:06:56 PM
Faust is my current favorite in the sonatas. 

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71I4go-IimL._SY255_.jpg)

But I haven't really looked around for other soloists.  Any other suggestions?

My only recordings are Kremer/Argerich in the first and Mutter/Orkis in the second. But both are exceptionally strong advocates. 



(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61zc%2BEiJWYL._SL500_.jpg)


Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: NJ Joe on March 31, 2015, 02:07:05 PM
You haven't really experienced the SQs until you've heard the historic Juilliard 60s recordings. They are the absolute best out there, sound & performance. Highest recommendations if you haven't already.

Yes, I own the set. Haven't explored them in as much detail as the Tackacs, but I cranked the 2nd on the way home from work today and really enjoyed it.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on March 31, 2015, 07:05:14 PM
I am pretty sure I have the Kremer/Argerich from their box set.



It's been awhile since I last heard the Kremer/Argerich but I still remember the experience!

BTW, that ought to be one fine set. I have the duo in Beethoven's sonatas, Prokofiev's sonatas, and the disc I posted above. Fine, fine stuff.


Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 31, 2015, 07:11:47 PM
I am pretty sure I have the Kremer/Argerich from their box set.



You remind me, I have yet to give anything from this set a spin. So much music, so little time.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: (: premont :) on February 02, 2016, 02:05:57 PM
Not at all the case for me, BTW. The Concerto for Orchestra probably was the first Bartók work I heard — and thus, perforce, for a period the only Bartók work I heard for some period — and it fired my imagination to wish to hear more of his work.

Well, a somewhat late comment, but the first Bartok I ever heard (except for some of the pieces of For Children which my piano teacher wanted me to play) was at a concert with Ferenc Fricsay conducting the Danish Radio symphony orchestra in the Concerto for orchestra. Even for a child like me this experience was completely unforgettable and hooked me on Bartok for good. And I still consider the Concerto for orchestra one of his major works.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Jo498 on February 02, 2016, 02:27:31 PM
Without a doubt the Concerto for Orchestra is a major work. Although it seems that because it is so immediately appealing it put some other works that are probably even greater (Music for strings, percussion...) somewhat in the shade, similar with the 3rd piano concerto vs. the first two.

The first Bartok piece I remember was when our music teacher in ca. 8th grade (it was a few years before I got seriously interested in classical music) played a record of the string divertimento (or at least the finale) and we were supposed to follow with a pocket score!!! I would have had no chance but for my friend who sat beside me and we used one score together (he played the piano).
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 02, 2016, 02:41:56 PM
For me Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra was also the first Bartok I ever heard...but only the fourth movement, Intermezzo interrotto. Allegretto. It was on a Columbia Szell/Cleveland sampler LP, heard circa 1968.

Sarge
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 02, 2016, 02:53:13 PM
Fritz Reiner's performance of Concerto for Orchestra was my introduction to Bartok.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 03, 2016, 07:40:26 AM
Well, a somewhat late comment, but the first Bartok I ever heard (except for some of the pieces of For Children which my piano teacher wanted me to play) was at a concert with Ferenc Fricsay conducting the Danish Radio symphony orchestra in the Concerto for orchestra. Even for a child like me this experience was completely unforgettable and hooked me on Bartok for good. And I still consider the Concerto for orchestra one of his major works.

Very nice!

And I am not surprised that so many of us heard the Concerto for Orchestra first of any Bartók work.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: ritter on February 03, 2016, 08:04:05 AM
Very nice!

And I am not surprised that so many of us heard the Concerto for Orchestra first of any Bartók work.
Count me in...I am almost sure that the Concerto for orchestra was my first Bartók as well. And who opened that door for me? You probably guessed it:

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/060/MI0001060762.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: bwv 1080 on February 03, 2016, 08:42:20 AM
Anyone under 50 or so probably heard Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste in The Shining as their first Bartok exposure
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: EigenUser on February 03, 2016, 10:50:30 AM
Anyone under 50 or so probably heard Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste in The Shining as their first Bartok exposure
It was the other way around for me! I found The Shining because of Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta. I am not a big movie person, but I do like that movie. It also features Ligeti's Lontano and a lot of early Penderecki.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: North Star on February 03, 2016, 10:53:54 AM
I too saw The Shining well after discovering Bartók. But statistically that statement is true for the overwhelming majority - who probably don't bother to hear anything else by him, either.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Jo498 on February 03, 2016, 11:14:04 AM
I saw "Shining" at some stage on TV but long after 9th grade and probably also long after I had heard quite a bit of Bartok. But I do not remember whether I knew "Music for..." when I saw Shining and whether I recognized it or not.

I think I DID recognize the bit they used in "Being John Malkovich" (which I saw ca. 2000 in the cinema), in one of the first scenes with the puppeteer. So by then I knew it well enough to recognize it.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Maestro267 on February 09, 2016, 02:37:50 AM
I finally got a recording of the three Piano Concertos yesterday. All are fascinating works, with percussion prominent in the first two. The strings at the start of 'No. 2: II' are wonderfully mysterious and eerie.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: (: premont :) on February 09, 2016, 04:52:00 AM
I finally got a recording of the three Piano Concertos yesterday. All are fascinating works, with percussion prominent in the first two. The strings at the start of 'No. 2: II' are wonderfully mysterious and eerie.

Well, Jando (the one you got) is solid and reliable in these concertos IMO, but you ought to try some others e.g. Anda or Schiff.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 09, 2016, 07:55:16 AM
I finally got a recording of the three Piano Concertos yesterday. All are fascinating works, with percussion prominent in the first two. The strings at the start of 'No. 2: II' are wonderfully mysterious and eerie.

Which recording?
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: (: premont :) on February 09, 2016, 09:07:22 AM
Which recording?

Jando as Maestro posted in the "purchase" thread (post 13280).
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 09, 2016, 09:28:54 AM
Jando as Maestro posted in the "purchase" thread (post 13280).

I've heard of this recording, and seen it, but don't know much about it or quality of the performances. I do know one thing, though, and that is the Schiff/Fischer recording is absolutely stunning from start to finish, but we're really spoilt for choices in these PCs. For a long time, Ashkenazy/Solti were my reference performances, but then I heard the team of Zimerman/Andsnes/Grimaud with Boulez at the helm and I was incredibly impressed. Schiff/Fischer really helped me cement my love of these concerti.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on February 09, 2016, 10:27:31 AM
Well, Jando (the one you got) is solid and reliable in these concertos IMO, but you ought to try some others e.g. Anda or Schiff.

I'm a big fan of Kocsis/Fischer. Great excitement and insight (and loaded with color). OOP but still available on the Amazon marketplace.

Also Katchen/Kertész for the third (currently available in the Decca Kertész box).



Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: (: premont :) on February 09, 2016, 02:35:09 PM
I've heard of this recording, and seen it, but don't know much about it or quality of the performances. I do know one thing, though, and that is the Schiff/Fischer recording is absolutely stunning from start to finish, but we're really spoilt for choices in these PCs. For a long time, Ashkenazy/Solti were my reference performances, but then I heard the team of Zimerman/Andsnes/Grimaud with Boulez at the helm and I was incredibly impressed. Schiff/Fischer really helped me cement my love of these concerti.

As I wrote above I find Jando's Bartok concertos solid and reliable, but prefer Schiff and Anda. Another to consider is György Sandor (the Vox recordings preferable to the Sony recordings despite at times perfunctory orchestral contribution). Ashkenazy seems in my ears cold and uninvolved. And similarly I do not warm to Kocsis' concertos. His Bartok solo piano recordings are more involving, even if I here prefer Sandor and Foldes.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: (: premont :) on February 09, 2016, 02:38:02 PM
I'm a big fan of Kocsis/Fischer. Great excitement and insight (and loaded with color). OOP but still available on the Amazon marketplace.

Also Katchen/Kertész for the third (currently available in the Decca Kertész box).

I own the third with Katchen/Ansermet  - rather unmemorable. Have not heard Katchen/Kertész.

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Daverz on February 09, 2016, 02:54:39 PM
I own the third with Katchen/Ansermet  - rather unmemorable. Have not heard Katchen/Kertész.

And I've not heard the Ansermet recording, but from the reviews I've read, Katchen/Ansermet is indeed inferior to Katchen/Kertesz, which is also my favorite Bartok PC3.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Parsifal on February 09, 2016, 04:22:26 PM
The Andras Schiff recordings are my reference in these works.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Turner on February 09, 2016, 11:11:10 PM
I finally got a recording of the three Piano Concertos yesterday. All are fascinating works, with percussion prominent in the first two. The strings at the start of 'No. 2: II' are wonderfully mysterious and eerie.

Of course, enjoy the recording and getting acquainted in depth with these rich and varied works - a process that in itself will take a good deal of time. So no real need searching for more recordings now, I think :)

The Concerto for Orchestra was also my first encounter with the composer, I think it was due to my local library having a copy of Szell´s recording on a cassette, which as far as I remember has cuts in the Finale. I then heard Ancerl´s, but found that it didn´t have quite so much momentum in the finale, and various recordings of the piano concertos, including Ashkenazy and Kovacevich. Since then, I acquired other versions, which I now prefer.

 
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Rons_talking on February 16, 2016, 02:01:18 PM
My friend had tickets for the LA Phil., so we went in spite of my having a terrible cold. My fever was spiking as the music began. After a forgettable opening, the Bartok 3rd PC followed. I recall feeling absolutely miserable throughout the concert, but I made a mental note that the slow movement was gorgeous. I couldn't enjoy it that night (my friend also loved the work) but I bought and played the LP until it was worn-out.  Music for Strings P and C was on the flip side and that too became a favorite (big surprise).
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Maestro267 on February 17, 2016, 06:38:52 AM
Of course, enjoy the recording and getting acquainted in depth with these rich and varied works - a process that in itself will take a good deal of time. So no real need searching for more recordings now, I think :)

This. I realise it's probably a topic for another thread, but I prefer to spend my money on music I don't have than another recording of a piece I've already heard.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: chung on February 17, 2016, 01:31:00 PM
My introduction to Bartók was Nimbus' recording with Adam Fischer conducting some "lighter" pieces based on folk music.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61ZU%2BqDsBcL.jpg)

It took me a while to warm up to them since I had grown used to the Slavonic Dances and "Hungarian" works by Brahms and Liszt. However Nimbus' disc grew on me and afterwards I borrowed a copy of Dutoit's recording of the Concerto for Orchestra and Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, and from then on was pretty much sold on a lot of Bartók's music. I still can't get up much for the string quartets or works for stage.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/81C2G9aZLGL._SX425_.jpg)

Nowadays as my first choice I spin Jandó/Ligeti for the piano concertos, Reiner/CSO for the Concerto for Orchestra & MSPC, and Kocsis, Sándor or Jandó for solo piano music. I'm less picky with the other works (e.g. Rhapsodies, violin concerti, viola concerto, duos).
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 17, 2016, 03:13:39 PM
I have always found Dutoit just too soft-edged for Bartok. Even Boulez, especially in the DG recordings with his x-ray googles on, has more bite and viciousness in his interpretations than Dutoit.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: chung on February 17, 2016, 09:05:56 PM
Well, I have moved on in my tastes for performers of Bartók's music. Reiner's recording with the CSO on RCA Living Stereo has been my pick for the CofO and MSPC for a long time and has relegated Dutoit's recording to something like a footnote in being the one that introduced me to those works even further in the past.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 18, 2016, 04:35:17 AM
Well, I have moved on in my tastes for performers of Bartók's music. Reiner's recording with the CSO on RCA Living Stereo has been my pick for the CofO and MSPC for a long time and has relegated Dutoit's recording to something like a footnote in being the one that introduced me to those works even further in the past.

Ah yes, well, coincidently, Reiner's recording was my introduction to Bartok and is still, IMHO, outstanding. It should be noted that Hungarian Sketches is also on this recording.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: OrchestralNut on March 08, 2016, 12:03:39 PM
I cannot wait to get the complete Bartók set on Decca label.  I realize that to date, I have heard at most, about 2 dozen of Bela's compositions!  :)

Linked through Amazon for the picture, but ordered through Presto Classical.



Out of what I have heard so far, my 5 favourite might be:

String Quartet # 4
Piano Concerto # 3 (or # 2)
Divertimento for Strings
Music for strings, percussion and celesta
The Wooden Prince
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 08, 2016, 08:22:19 PM
I cannot wait to get the complete Bartók set on Decca label.  I realize that to date, I have heard at most, about 2 dozen of Bela's compositions!  :)

Linked through Amazon for the picture, but ordered through Presto Classical.



Out of what I have heard so far, my 5 favourite might be:

String Quartet # 4
Piano Concerto # 3 (or # 2)
Divertimento for Strings
Music for strings, percussion and celesta
The Wooden Prince

No love for The Miraculous Mandarin, Ray? What about Bluebeard's Castle or Violin Concerto No. 2? I'd be interested in seeing a complete list of all the Bartok works you've heard (just out of my own curiosity).
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Rons_talking on April 04, 2016, 09:30:20 AM
This two piano arrangement Of Miraculous Manderin is both revealing and exciting. While the orchestra adds another dynamic to this great, great work, this recording displays the harmonic and rhythmic genious of Bartok without distraction. And it won't blow out your speakers. ;D



.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: vandermolen on April 04, 2016, 03:56:59 PM
I don't listen to much Bartok but I recently picked up a second hand Decca CD of Solti conducting the Concerto for Orchestra and Dance Suite which reinvigorated my admiration for both works.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on April 04, 2016, 04:15:13 PM
I don't listen to much Bartok but I recently picked up a second hand Decca CD of Solti conducting the Concerto for Orchestra and Dance Suite which reinvigorated my admiration for both works.

Bartok is one of the more fascinating figures of the 20th Century, IMHO. He's certainly a composer that I've admired since I began to seriously listen to classical music seven years ago. What would be your 'Top 5' favorite works of his, Jeffrey?
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Scion7 on April 04, 2016, 08:29:06 PM
I don't listen to much Bartok but ___

You might also like the first violin concerto.
The first movement is one of the best documents of a man pining for a love he can never have (violinist Stefi Geyer) ever written.
He kept it unpublished and stuffed in a desk drawer throughout his life.
Guess it was just too painful, both for him, and for his wife if she would ever hear it.
It's in a more Romantic vein than most of his other works, but still Bartok!

(http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y266/EmilyLiz/GeyerStefi-1.jpg)

(http://img.cdandlp.com/2013/03/imgL/115883712.jpg)  Available on CD in a couple of different editions.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: vandermolen on April 04, 2016, 11:46:29 PM
Many thanks John and Scion 7

My favourites are:
Piano Concerto No.3
Concerto for Orchestra
Dance Suite
Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste
Violin Concerto 2

However, I am ignorant of much of his work. Clearly I need to investigate Violin Concerto 1 and the string quartets for starters. At the moment, however, I am engrossed in my new Morton Gould Chicago SO boxed set. (See the Miaskovsky thread below) :)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on April 05, 2016, 05:33:15 AM
Many thanks John and Scion 7

My favourites are:
Piano Concerto No.3
Concerto for Orchestra
Dance Suite
Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste
Violin Concerto 2

However, I am ignorant of much of his work. Clearly I need to investigate Violin Concerto 1 and the string quartets for starters. At the moment, however, I am engrossed in my new Morton Gould Chicago SO boxed set. (See the Miaskovsky thread below) :)

All of those are magnificent works, Jeffrey. Bartok composed my favorite opera: Bluebeard's Castle. Even if you're not a fan of opera (like me), this made the genre much easier to love.

No love for the ballets: The Miraculous Mandarin and The Wooden Prince? I'm sure you've heard these works before.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: vandermolen on April 05, 2016, 05:59:21 AM
All of those are magnificent works, Jeffrey. Bartok composed my favorite opera: Bluebeard's Castle. Even if you're not a fan of opera (like me), this made the genre much easier to love.

No love for the ballets: The Miraculous Mandarin and The Wooden Prince? I'm sure you've heard these works before.
Opera is a bit of a blind spot for me with the exception of 'Riders to the Sea' and 'Pilgrim's Progress' by Vaughan Williams (which I increasingly think might be his greatest work) and 'Boris Gudunov' by Mussorgsky. The suite from the Miraculous Mandarin is also on the Solti disc mentioned above so I shall be giving that a listen. I do love many ballets such as those by Arthur Bliss and Stravinsky as well as 'Job' of course although I have only ever heard it in concert.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on April 05, 2016, 06:46:41 AM
Opera is a bit of a blind spot for me with the exception of 'Riders to the Sea' and 'Pilgrim's Progress' by Vaughan Williams (which I increasingly think might be his greatest work) and 'Boris Gudunov' by Mussorgsky. The suite from the Miraculous Mandarin is also on the Solti disc mentioned above so I shall be giving that a listen. I do love many ballets such as those by Arthur Bliss and Stravinsky as well as 'Job' of course although I have only ever heard it in concert.

The problem I have with the suite from the Mandarin is it cuts a chunk of music from it (I believe about 20 minutes worth --- I could be misremembering) and also there's no wordless chorus like there is the complete version. Do give Bluebeard's Castle a listen preferably Boulez's earlier recording on Columbia or Kertesz's recording on Decca. Either of these performances are my favorites (and I own most of them on record).
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: vandermolen on April 05, 2016, 07:10:26 AM
The problem I have with the suite from the Mandarin is it cuts a chunk of music from it (I believe about 20 minutes worth --- I could be misremembering) and also there's no wordless chorus like there is the complete version. Do give Bluebeard's Castle a listen preferably Boulez's earlier recording on Columbia or Kertesz's recording on Decca. Either of these performances are my favorites (and I own most of them on record).
Will certainly look out for those works. Many thanks John.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on April 06, 2016, 02:40:36 AM
Will certainly look out for those works. Many thanks John.

You're quite welcome, Jeffrey. 8)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 28, 2016, 05:01:48 AM
Cross-posted from the 'Purchases' thread:

Just bought:

(http://hwcdn.allmusic.com/release-covers/400/0002/699/0002699494.jpg)

I'm not sure how this recording is or even what it sounds like as there's no audio samples available but from what I've read these are great performances. It also helps that the recording was dirt cheap. Has anyone heard this recording? Any good impressions of it?
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: jlaurson on August 14, 2016, 08:24:08 AM



Classical CD Of The Week: Bartók & Kodály, Toothsome Hungarian Twosome

(http://blogs-images.forbes.com/jenslaurson/files/2016/08/Forbes_Classical-CD-of-the-Week_Kodaly-Bartok_String-Quartets-Alexander_Foghorn_Laurson-1200-1200x469.jpg) (http://bit.ly/CDoftheWeek023)

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Guido on September 08, 2016, 11:13:57 PM
Did anyone get the full score to Bluebeard's castle before it was taken down in imslp?
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945) HELP!! BARTOK EMERGENCY!!!!!
Post by: snyprrr on January 12, 2017, 03:45:48 PM
I've mostly been a "Top40" Bartok fan, liking the obvious, indifferent or reactionary to what I don't like.


So all of a sudden, his massive Complete Piano Music Box (always awesome Kocsis) has tempted me, more for the playing and the crisp Philips sound, than anything I might actually hear within. 8 CDs on Bartok Piano Music?? I mean, it's cheap, so why would I kvetch? Well... it's EIGHT discs of Bartok Piano Music. As I looked it over, and perhaps compare his "Box", with that of, say, Busoni, or Debussy-Ravel-Szymanowski,

We're Talking Piano Music Here,... @1906-1953...

Stravinsky... Copland...


WHY WOULD I WANT THAT BARTOK BOX RATHER THAN ... SOMEONE ELSE??

Again, it comes back to Kocsis and Philips for me. BUT, if that's the case, I seem to find Ranki a bit even more delicate and refined than Kocsis (!!),  though he only has a few Big Pieces.

Ahhh,...

What say ye? Ask me a question?
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945) HELP!! BARTOK EMERGENCY!!!!!
Post by: Todd on January 12, 2017, 03:49:34 PM
What say ye?


Buy.  Now.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945) HELP!! BARTOK EMERGENCY!!!!!
Post by: snyprrr on January 12, 2017, 04:19:10 PM

Buy.  Now.

followed by resistance is futile :laugh:
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945) KOCSIS vs RANKI
Post by: snyprrr on January 13, 2017, 07:50:47 AM
I'm going to need just a little more confirmation on that massive Kocsis Box. How do you feel about these two pianists? It seems to me Ranki has an even more delicate touch, if that's possible,... but it is!....

Can you give me a paragraph on why you love Bartok's Piano Music.... or?......??.......
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945) KOCSIS vs RANKI
Post by: Parsifal on January 13, 2017, 01:26:18 PM
I'm going to need just a little more confirmation on that massive Kocsis Box. How do you feel about these two pianists? It seems to me Ranki has an even more delicate touch, if that's possible,... but it is!....

Can you give me a paragraph on why you love Bartok's Piano Music.... or?......??.......

Can you give a paragraph on why you need Bartok CD's more than heating oil in January?
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Spineur on January 14, 2017, 02:50:54 AM
Kocsis Ranki together in the most interesting Bartok composition

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: JCBuckley on January 14, 2017, 10:09:34 AM
Anybody have a view on Tiberghien's recordings of the piano music?
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945) KOCSIS vs RANKI
Post by: snyprrr on January 15, 2017, 08:42:08 AM
Can you give a paragraph on why you need Bartok CD's more than heating oil in January?

excellent point!!!!!! :laugh:

no... no, I can't :laugh:
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Turner on November 18, 2017, 12:04:51 AM
A world premiere recording of the complete Bartok "Piano Quartet op.20" from earlier this year:

https://www.thestrad.com/hungarian-treasures--bartok-piano-quartet-in-c-minor-op20-dohnanyi-piano-quartet-in-f-sharp-minor-kodaly-intermezzo-for-string-trio/6814.article
https://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/art/hungarian-treasures-bartok-dohnanyi-kodaly/hnum/5847005
Title: I Just Don't Like Bartok Solo Piano Music. Period?
Post by: snyprrr on February 20, 2018, 03:52:40 PM
Idon't get it. It ALL has "that" sound,... well, except when he's being nice, but,...


I went through the Sonata, Sonatina,,some of this, that,... Kocsis, Ranki, Beroff,... it all just sounds clanky and... and... and...

It'sjust exactly what I don't want,... and I don't have this problem with the Concertos, or any other piano accompaniment, just the SOLO Piano Music. Haven't yet gone through Makrokosmos this time, but everything else I'm just like,... this guy only writes little tiny training pieces and etudes and... and... and...


Someone help me here,... is it that he sounds too improvisatory for me, like Poulenc? I think it's that wayward abandon I'm reacting against.



And then I try the same Pianists in Debussy, and all of a sudden at least I can call it ... oh, I know, this is bad,... "music". Seriously, I'm almost aghast at Bartok's Piano Music, this time it's hitting my ears as the worst sounding stuff ever, just bristling with those minor-seconds in just the places I don't want them...


What's going on here???


Even Mikrokosmos,...3CDs of miniatures... ok, ifI'm in the mood,... but,... but... where's the BIG WORK??? The Sonata??????? Really???????


aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ??? :o ??? :o ??? :o ???
Title: Re: I Just Don't Like Bartok Solo Piano Music. Period?
Post by: wolftone on February 21, 2018, 08:07:46 AM
Someone help me here,... is it that he sounds too improvisatory for me, like Poulenc? I think it's that wayward abandon I'm reacting against.
I think Milton Babbitt talked about what you seem to be talking about, in his writing about Bartok's SQs. I personally don't agree with Babbitt's ontological presumptions but it seems to me that he probably found Bartok's compositions unappealing the same way as I do (and maybe you too snyprrr), at least in some aspects.

To quote Babbitt: "Extreme shifts in purely sonic effect are used to define large formal relationships, while more subtle shifts in tonal balance, often effected through doublings, define smaller sections... Bartok's solution was a specific one, it cannot be duplicated, but the question of whether it can be extended depends largely upon whether or not Bartok has reduced the use of generalized functionality to the minimum point at which it can exert structural influence."

You can read the rest of his paper here, if you haven't: https://unitus.org/FULL/bartokbabbitt.pdf (https://unitus.org/FULL/bartokbabbitt.pdf)

Title: Re: I Just Don't Like Bartok Solo Piano Music. Period?
Post by: Mahlerian on February 21, 2018, 08:37:40 AM
I think Milton Babbitt talked about what you seem to be talking about, in his writing about Bartok's SQs. I personally don't agree with Babbitt's ontological presumptions but it seems to me that he probably found Bartok's compositions unappealing the same way as I do (and maybe you too snyprrr), at least in some aspects.

To quote Babbitt: "Extreme shifts in purely sonic effect are used to define large formal relationships, while more subtle shifts in tonal balance, often effected through doublings, define smaller sections... Bartok's solution was a specific one, it cannot be duplicated, but the question of whether it can be extended depends largely upon whether or not Bartok has reduced the use of generalized functionality to the minimum point at which it can exert structural influence."

You can read the rest of his paper here, if you haven't: https://unitus.org/FULL/bartokbabbitt.pdf (https://unitus.org/FULL/bartokbabbitt.pdf)

Babbitt's comments should probably be read in light of the criticisms from Adorno et al in the Schoenbergian camp (but, notably, not Schoenberg himself, though he frequently questioned the value of building an art music on folk elements) that Bartok's music is not worthy of being considered in the forefront of the development of music.  His paper challenges that idea quite effectively.

He also says that the string quartets were a consistently worthwhile and significant addition to the repertoire.  I don't read the comments you posted as a criticism of Bartok, per se, so much as questioning whether his music is a "dead end" in the development of music or whether it contains elements which can be fruitful in future developments.

I should think that the work of Ligeti, among others, has demonstrated the latter quite well, though I don't feel personally that harmony was the strongest element of Bartok's music.
Title: Re: I Just Don't Like Bartok Solo Piano Music. Period?
Post by: Mirror Image on February 21, 2018, 08:51:05 AM
Idon't get it. It ALL has "that" sound,... well, except when he's being nice, but,...


I went through the Sonata, Sonatina,,some of this, that,... Kocsis, Ranki, Beroff,... it all just sounds clanky and... and... and...

It'sjust exactly what I don't want,... and I don't have this problem with the Concertos, or any other piano accompaniment, just the SOLO Piano Music. Haven't yet gone through Makrokosmos this time, but everything else I'm just like,... this guy only writes little tiny training pieces and etudes and... and... and...


Someone help me here,... is it that he sounds too improvisatory for me, like Poulenc? I think it's that wayward abandon I'm reacting against.



And then I try the same Pianists in Debussy, and all of a sudden at least I can call it ... oh, I know, this is bad,... "music". Seriously, I'm almost aghast at Bartok's Piano Music, this time it's hitting my ears as the worst sounding stuff ever, just bristling with those minor-seconds in just the places I don't want them...


What's going on here???


Even Mikrokosmos,...3CDs of miniatures... ok, ifI'm in the mood,... but,... but... where's the BIG WORK??? The Sonata??????? Really???????


aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ??? :o ??? :o ??? :o ???

From what I’ve heard of Bartók’s piano music, I wouldn’t call myself a fan either, but I do love Out of Doors and consider it one of his best works in all of his oeuvre actually. The problem with a lot of the piano music is it ranges from merely pleasant to ”Okay, what’s the point of this?” I’d say that Out of Doors feels like a thoroughly, well-conceived piece of music on it’s own. It doesn’t sound like an exercise like a good bit of Bartók's piano music sounds like (Debussy’s Etudes comes to mind here, too, as sounding like piano exercises instead of a work that contains a narrative or is trying to convey something). I usually just stick with Bartók’s chamber, orchestral, and choral music, and that absolutely fabulous sole opera of his, Bluebeard’s Castle. For piano music, I’m finding it rather difficult to hear anything that tops Ravel and Janáček for me.
Title: Re: I Just Don't Like Bartok Solo Piano Music. Period?
Post by: wolftone on February 21, 2018, 09:07:38 AM
Babbitt's comments should probably be read in light of the criticisms from Adorno et al in the Schoenbergian camp (but, notably, not Schoenberg himself, though he frequently questioned the value of building an art music on folk elements) that Bartok's music is not worthy of being considered in the forefront of the development of music.  His paper challenges that idea quite effectively.

He also says that the string quartets were a consistently worthwhile and significant addition to the repertoire.  I don't read the comments you posted as a criticism of Bartok, per se, so much as questioning whether his music is a "dead end" in the development of music or whether it contains elements which can be fruitful in future developments.

I should think that the work of Ligeti, among others, has demonstrated the latter quite well, though I don't feel personally that harmony was the strongest element of Bartok's music.
I did not mean to imply that the writing was a criticism of Bartok's SQs, though in the context of my post it seems to suggest so. I mentioned Babbitt's writing because it might hint at why some might find many of Bartok's works unappealing, though what Babbitt mentions is not necessarily a criticism.
Title: Re: I Just Don't Like Bartok Solo Piano Music. Period?
Post by: Mahlerian on February 21, 2018, 09:16:25 AM
I did not mean to imply that the writing was a criticism of Bartok's SQs, though in the context of my post it seems to suggest so. I mentioned Babbitt's writing because it might hint at why some might find many of Bartok's works unappealing, though what Babbitt mentions is not necessarily a criticism.

Thank you for clarifying.

I will say that of the three "biggest names" of the early 20th century, Bartok, Schoenberg, and Stravinsky, Bartok's music aligns with my taste the least.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Jo498 on February 21, 2018, 09:54:12 AM
Bartok is by far my favorite of these three. But I admittedly know not enough Schoenberg well enough. I am also a total layman. The main challenger to Bartok among 20th cent. big names for me would be Alban Berg.
Title: Re: I Just Don't Like Bartok Solo Piano Music. Period?
Post by: Baron Scarpia on February 21, 2018, 10:00:30 AM
Thank you for clarifying.

I will say that of the three "biggest names" of the early 20th century, Bartok, Schoenberg, and Stravinsky, Bartok's music aligns with my taste the least.

Debussy, Ravel are not big names? Other than the Concerto for Orchestra, I can't think of something by Bartok that is really "big" in terms of audience popularity.

Anyway, I have mixed impressions of Bartok. I am not attracted to the folk-oriented material, but he did write some spectacular music., particularly the string quartets, the Strings Percussion and Celeste thing, the Concerti, some of the ballets, and suites.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Jo498 on February 21, 2018, 10:10:59 AM
Not as popular as Boléro of course but Bluebeard, the string quartets, the piano concerto, even the violin concerto have become really standard repertoire pieces. Some others not to such an extent. But hardly anything by Schoenberg (maybe Verklärte Nacht) is as "popular" as lots of Bartok is.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Baron Scarpia on February 21, 2018, 10:16:11 AM
Not as popular as Boléro of course but Bluebeard, the string quartets, the piano concerto, even the violin concerto have become really standard repertoire pieces. Some others not to such an extent. But hardly anything by Schoenberg (maybe Verklärte Nacht) is as "popular" as lots of Bartok is.

The question is "big" with who, general audience or fanatics?
Title: Re: I Just Don't Like Bartok Solo Piano Music. Period?
Post by: Mahlerian on February 21, 2018, 10:42:47 AM
Debussy, Ravel are not big names? Other than the Concerto for Orchestra, I can't think of something by Bartok that is really "big" in terms of audience popularity.

Debussy and Ravel are of course big names, and I certainly prefer Debussy to Bartok, but I was speaking of the generation whose style developed in the first two decades of the 20th century.

As you said, Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra is surely his most prominent warhorse at this point, but the Second Piano Concerto and the Second Violin Concerto probably are up there too.

Not as popular as Boléro of course but Bluebeard, the string quartets, the piano concerto, even the violin concerto have become really standard repertoire pieces. Some others not to such an extent. But hardly anything by Schoenberg (maybe Verklärte Nacht) is as "popular" as lots of Bartok is.

Pierrot lunaire, Erwartung, the Six Little Piano Pieces op. 19, Pelleas und Melisande, and the Second String Quartet are performed often enough that they should also be considered standard repertoire at this point.

Are these works popular with the average Classic FM listener?  No, but neither are any of the Bartok works you mentioned.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 21, 2018, 11:05:55 AM
Kocsis Ranki together in the most interesting Bartok composition



Love this disc!
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 21, 2018, 11:07:25 AM
http://www.youtube.com/v/WTD3Khd3-lY
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: amw on February 21, 2018, 11:13:14 AM
Bartok is by far my favorite of these three.
Same. Main challenges in my case would be Webern & Poulenc (though neither is close; Bartók is very much more important for me as listener and music aligned person in general).

That said, I think people looking for progressivism in harmony, or a consistent folk music basis for a musical style, or anything else “modernist” in nature, is going to have a hard time finding it in Bartók. He is a 20th century Dvořák or Rimsky-Korsakov or etc. Marketing his music as nationalistic was obviously a route to artistic success (and probably aligned with his views to some extent) but it’s basically music out of an Austro-German tradition, rooted most strongly in Beethoven etc.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 21, 2018, 11:21:47 AM
I will say that of the three "biggest names" of the early 20th century, Bartok, Schoenberg, and Stravinsky, Bartok's music aligns with my taste the least.

Bartok is by far my favorite of these three.

I could not designate a favorite from among these three, any more than I could express a preference among prosciutto, bok choy, and mango.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: amw on February 21, 2018, 11:43:56 AM
any more than I could express a preference among prosciutto, bok choy, and mango.
Mango by a wide margin here. Though I actually like hummus even better.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Baron Scarpia on February 21, 2018, 11:45:46 AM
Mango by a wide margin here. Though I actually like hummus even better.

prosciutto
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 21, 2018, 11:49:37 AM
My solitude no longer surprises me  8)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: bwv 1080 on February 21, 2018, 01:17:25 PM
Same. Main challenges in my case would be Webern & Poulenc (though neither is close; Bartók is very much more important for me as listener and music aligned person in general).

That said, I think people looking for progressivism in harmony, or a consistent folk music basis for a musical style, or anything else “modernist” in nature, is going to have a hard time finding it in Bartók. He is a 20th century Dvořák or Rimsky-Korsakov or etc.

Could not disagree more, Bartok is all of those things.  His music is far removed from 19th century nationalists for one thing, he actually took the time to study and collect actual folk music.  Bartok's use of modal music takes off from Stravinsky's Le Sacre, abstracting the modal structures and incorporating the very modernist notion of pitch class sets. 
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mandryka on February 21, 2018, 02:41:25 PM
Strangely I now find the two piano sonata unlistenable, I don't know why, it makes me tense and fidgety, I just don't like it. I never used to be like that.

 I do, however, very much like the solo violin sonata (someone gave me Robert Mann's recording, and I play it often, before that I adored Josefowicz. ) And the quartets - at least 3-5 - are very good I think, I'm starting to appreciate 6 more I think too, I've really struggled with it before - at least I found myself  enjoying Tatrai Qt play it a few weeks ago.

As far as the solo piano music goes, I listen most often now to the last couple of books of mikrokosmos I think, and the etudes. I know someone who plays this music, so they're part of my world somehow . . .
Title: Re: I Just Don't Like Bartok Solo Piano Music. Period?OUT OF DOORS,OUTOFDOORS
Post by: snyprrr on February 22, 2018, 01:53:57 PM
From what I’ve heard of Bartók’s piano music, I wouldn’t call myself a fan either, but I do love Out of Doors and consider it one of his best works in all of his oeuvre actually. The problem with a lot of the piano music is it ranges from merely pleasant to ”Okay, what’s the point of this?” I’d say that Out of Doors feels like a thoroughly, well-conceived piece of music on it’s own. It doesn’t sound like an exercise like a good bit of Bartók's piano music sounds like (Debussy’s Etudes comes to mind here, too, as sounding like piano exercises instead of a work that contains a narrative or is trying to convey something). I usually just stick with Bartók’s chamber, orchestral, and choral music, and that absolutely fabulous sole opera of his, Bluebeard’s Castle. For piano music, I’m finding it rather difficult to hear anything that tops Ravel and Janáček for me.

I absolutely agree with you on 'Out of Doors', it is the only work here that is exactly as you say, REAL MUSIC!- as in, non-piano music in inspiration, so to speak...

I ws going to bring it up in my Rant (if I didn't), but I think I wanted to start the conversation before I brought it up. I guess what prompted me was, having OoD already (Ranki), I went a searchin for more masterpieces, which I kneeew I would find,... but, I found what I found, and we know what it is (7 CDs worth!!!).

Tcherpinen(?) has EIGHT CDs of Piano Music...!!!!!!!!!! :o ??? :o ???



Anyhow MI- I was tickled that you picked up on my omission!

Strangely I now find the two piano sonata unlistenable, I don't know why, it makes me tense and fidgety, I just don't like it. I never used to be like that.

 I do, however, very much like the solo violin sonata (someone gave me Robert Mann's recording, and I play it often, before that I adored Josefowicz. ) And the quartets - at least 3-5 - are very good I think, I'm starting to appreciate 6 more I think too, I've really struggled with it before - at least I found myself  enjoying Tatrai Qt play it a few weeks ago.

As far as the solo piano music goes, I listen most often now to the last couple of books of mikrokosmos I think, and the etudes. I know someone who plays this music, so they're part of my world somehow . . .

I would like to get to the bottom of the Mikrokosmos. I'm sure I'll like it well enough.


YEA, JUST SO NO ONE MISCONSTRUES- I LIKE BARTOK JUST FINE, but, like 'Freebird', I no longer feel the need to hear the Concerto for Orchesta, or most of the pieces that initially drew me to him. STRING QUARTET NO.3 is still THE MASTERPIECE for me.


solo violin sonata- how is the Mann "better"? In the GoodMusicGuide, they reeeally liked the Mann, saying he clarifies structure AND does the other thingy, whilst most either do one or the other... I have LeilaJ...

But yea, the Piano Sonata have me the same heebijeebies...

 Bartok interpreters and I still heard the same sounds. With Stravinsky Piano Music, I hated it when Serkin played it, but loved it when Ranki played it...??...
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945) MY CURRENT BARTOK TOP 10
Post by: snyprrr on February 22, 2018, 01:58:59 PM
I didn't want to give an impression that I disliked Bartok's music,... other than the Solo Piano Music, so to speak. Here's my 10, order apprx.


STRING QUARTET NO.3

MIRACULOUS MANDARIN

2 IMAGES

SOLO VIOLIN SONATA

OUT OF DOORS

SONATA FOR 2PIANOS & PERCUSSION

PIANO CONCERTO NO.2

PIANO CONCERTO NO.1

CONCERTO FOR ORCHESTRA

STRING QUARTETS 4-5 (tie)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mandryka on February 25, 2018, 05:16:08 AM
I think that putting the 3rd quartet at the top shows impeccable judgement.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mandryka on March 01, 2018, 10:12:47 AM
(https://img.discogs.com/tzyenZ1qumL5d70e-l_YiOQRlDw=/fit-in/600x600/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-4891591-1378643932-2687.jpeg.jpg)


Tatrai is really formidable in the 3rd quartet: unsmiling, brutal, harsh, without an iota of tenderness or consolation. And they play it with complete commitment, they are incandescent.  If this music is a vision of the meaning of life (and what else could it possibly be? A divertimento?)  what is it that Tatrai is trying to telling us here about the human condition?  It doesn't bear thinking about - I'm going to get drunk now.

I've listened to some others recently too:

Signum, Alexander - like, very dramatic
New Music Quartet - my old friend, love it more than any other
Heath - they could be trying to be abstract, rather than play it emotionally. What they do could be worth exploring, I'm not sure.
Chiara, Ebene - didn't register anything interesting going on
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 01, 2018, 10:14:07 AM
Wait! I heard an iota of tenderness!
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mandryka on March 01, 2018, 10:16:08 AM
Wait! I heard an iota of tenderness!

You're quick!
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Moonfish on May 21, 2018, 04:04:08 PM
Love this! Any other versions to recommend?

Bartók: Bluebeard's Castle            Fischer-Dieskau/Varady/Sawallisch/Bayerisches Staatsorchester   

Magnificent! An eery opera! I think I will disappear into some surreal realm tonight when I fall asleep. Great music making. Varady and Fischer-Dieskau are perfect in this work.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51Bw-Ycgv7L.jpg)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Ken B on May 21, 2018, 04:11:01 PM
Love this! Any other versions to recommend?

Bartók: Bluebeard's Castle            Fischer-Dieskau/Varady/Sawallisch/Bayerisches Staatsorchester   

Magnificent! A eery opera! I think I will disappear into some surreal realm tonight when I fall asleep. Great music making. Varady and Fischer-Dieskau are perfect in this work.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51Bw-Ycgv7L.jpg)

The Solti is great. I am usually not such a fan of his.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: TheGSMoeller on May 21, 2018, 05:00:19 PM
Thanks, Gents for the B.B. Castle recs.
I've been having a bit of a Bartok resurgence lately, and picked up a few new(to me) Bartok recordings. The Dorati/LSO performance of Concerto for Orchestra is one of the best I've heard, I love Dorati's tempi and interpretive choices. I have a few more Bartok discs in my que that I'm deciding on, another Wooden Prince perhaps, maybe a new Violin Concertos disc.
I'll leave more thoughts on Bartok soon...

New Bartok albums...

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81DqNaeKVlL._SL1345_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61CyvHEhevL._SS500.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71753qDyuyL._SL1400_.jpg)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 21, 2018, 05:15:59 PM
Love this! Any other versions to recommend?

Bartók: Bluebeard's Castle            Fischer-Dieskau/Varady/Sawallisch/Bayerisches Staatsorchester   

Magnificent! An eery opera! I think I will disappear into some surreal realm tonight when I fall asleep. Great music making. Varady and Fischer-Dieskau are perfect in this work.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51Bw-Ycgv7L.jpg)

If I had to pick just one recording that I feel encapsulates everything I love about Bluebeard’s Castle it would be this superb recording:

(http://www.music-bazaar.com/album-images/vol26/959/959895/2821868-big/Bela-Bartok-Bluebeard-s-Castle-Pierre-Boulez-cover.jpg)

It can be bought in various incarnations, but the issue I listed above is the one I prefer as the remastering done is quite warm sounding. The soloists Siegmund Nimsgern and Tatiana Troyanos are two of the best vocalists I’ve heard in this opera. Of course, the duo of Walter Berry and Christa Ludwig is also top-notch, but I find Troyanos to be one of the most affecting roles I’ve ever heard in Judith. Nimsgern’s Bluebeard also has a rich timbre and resonance that goes hand-in-hand with how I personally would like to hear this role sung. Boulez’s accompaniment is, to be quite blunt, scorching. He gets the BBC Symphony Orchestra to perform with venom in their blood and razor-sharp fangs. Not to be missed! One of my all-time favorite recordings of anything.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: TheGSMoeller on May 21, 2018, 05:18:44 PM
If I had to pick just one recording that I feel encapsulates everything I love about Bluebeard’s Castle it would be this superb recording:

(http://www.music-bazaar.com/album-images/vol26/959/959895/2821868-big/Bela-Bartok-Bluebeard-s-Castle-Pierre-Boulez-cover.jpg)

It can be bought in various incarnations, but the issue I listed above is the one I prefer as the remastering done is quite warm sounding. The soloists Siegmund Nimsgern and Tatiana Troyanos are two of the best vocalists I’ve heard in this opera. Of course, the duo of Walter Berry and Christa Ludwig is also top-notch, but I find Troyanos to be one of the most affecting roles I’ve ever heard in Judith. Nimsgern’s Bluebeard also has a rich timbre and resonance that goes hand-in-hand with how I personally would like to hear this role sung. Boulez’s accompaniment is, to be quite blunt, smoking hot. He gets the BBC Symphony Orchestra to perform with venom in their blood and razor-sharp fangs. Not to be missed! One of my all-time favorite recordings of anything.

Coincidentally that's one of the Bartok discs I have in my wish list awaiting the buy-now-click. I listened to it on Apple Music and was heavily impressed. Thanks for the extra vote, John!
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 21, 2018, 05:20:02 PM
Thanks, Gents for the B.B. Castle recs.
I've been having a bit of a Bartok resurgence lately, and picked up a few new(to me) Bartok recordings. The Dorati/LSO performance of Concerto for Orchestra is one of the best I've heard, I love Dorati's tempi and interpretive choices. I have a few more Bartok discs in my que that I'm deciding on, another Wooden Prince perhaps, maybe a new Violin Concertos disc.
I'll leave more thoughts on Bartok soon...

New Bartok albums...

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81DqNaeKVlL._SL1345_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61CyvHEhevL._SS500.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71753qDyuyL._SL1400_.jpg)

All great recordings, Greg! Love them all dearly, although it’s been quite some time since I’ve listened to Dorati’s traversal of the composer. I should definitely revisit those recordings. Fischer and Boulez are, of course, not to be missed in Bartók. Anyone who loves this composer will have one, if not all, of these recordings in their collection.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 21, 2018, 05:23:58 PM
Coincidentally that's one of the Bartok discs I have in my wish list awaiting the buy-now-click. I listened to it on Apple Music and was heavily impressed. Thanks for the extra vote, John!

Excellent to hear, Greg. 8) Glad you enjoyed this performance as much as I have. There’s something truly magical about Boulez’s way with Bartók. The only recording from Boulez I heard that I didn’t think much of was his second go-around with Bluebeard’s Castle on Deutsche Grammophon where I thought he was rather lethargic and didn’t really get to the heart of the work like he did with his first recording.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Moonfish on May 21, 2018, 05:29:44 PM
If I had to pick just one recording that I feel encapsulates everything I love about Bluebeard’s Castle it would be this superb recording:

(http://www.music-bazaar.com/album-images/vol26/959/959895/2821868-big/Bela-Bartok-Bluebeard-s-Castle-Pierre-Boulez-cover.jpg)

It can be bought in various incarnations, but the issue I listed above is the one I prefer as the remastering done is quite warm sounding. The soloists Siegmund Nimsgern and Tatiana Troyanos are two of the best vocalists I’ve heard in this opera. Of course, the duo of Walter Berry and Christa Ludwig is also top-notch, but I find Troyanos to be one of the most affecting roles I’ve ever heard in Judith. Nimsgern’s Bluebeard also has a rich timbre and resonance that goes hand-in-hand with how I personally would like to hear this role sung. Boulez’s accompaniment is, to be quite blunt, scorching. He gets the BBC Symphony Orchestra to perform with venom in their blood and razor-sharp fangs. Not to be missed! One of my all-time favorite recordings of anything.

Nice. That specific recording can be found in the Boulez complete Columbia collection. 
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Brewski on May 21, 2018, 05:33:55 PM
Love this! Any other versions to recommend?

Bartók: Bluebeard's Castle            Fischer-Dieskau/Varady/Sawallisch/Bayerisches Staatsorchester   

Magnificent! An eery opera! I think I will disappear into some surreal realm tonight when I fall asleep. Great music making. Varady and Fischer-Dieskau are perfect in this work.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51Bw-Ycgv7L.jpg)

I like this version a lot (even though my copy is a DG reissue, with a much more boring cover than the one here). The two singers are superb, and I don't recall ever hearing Sawallisch conduct Bartók, which he does quite well.

As far as others, another vote for the first Boulez recording with Troyanos (my introduction to the piece). As John says, it smokes. I also like Boulez's later version, mostly for the glorious singing of Jessye Norman.

I also like Haitink's recording with the Berlin Philharmonic, Anne Sofie von Otter and John Tomlinson (though the soundscape is a little distant).

--Bruce
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 21, 2018, 05:45:16 PM
Nice. That specific recording can be found in the Boulez complete Columbia collection.

Yep, it can also be found in at least two Bartók sets from Boulez on Sony. One that’s OOP and another one that has been more recently issued at budget price:

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 21, 2018, 05:45:44 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81DqNaeKVlL._SL1345_.jpg)

If my memory is to the trusted the recording of Two Portraits on this disc is my absolute favorite. I like his Concerto for Orchestra on Decca a little better.

One disc that really surprised me was the Dutoit recording of Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta.



Not a conductor you usually associate with Bartok, but this performance is my standard for that piece, which is probably my favorite work by Bartok (with the possible exception fo the string quartets).
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Moonfish on May 21, 2018, 05:52:28 PM
I sense a love for Bartók here at GMG...

(https://images.prod.meredith.com/product/753f9d3ed10c3aea4513d2a71dbd1928/1512552707917/l/kids-i-love-classical-music-and-cats-tee-shirts-cat-t-shirt-12-cranberry)

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Moonfish on May 21, 2018, 05:53:28 PM
Yep, it can also be found in at least two Bartók sets from Boulez on Sony. One that’s OOP and another one that has been more recently issued at budget price:



Are the Boulez recordings of the opera sung in the original Hungarian?
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Moonfish on May 21, 2018, 05:55:06 PM
If I had to pick just one recording that I feel encapsulates everything I love about Bluebeard’s Castle it would be this superb recording:

(http://www.music-bazaar.com/album-images/vol26/959/959895/2821868-big/Bela-Bartok-Bluebeard-s-Castle-Pierre-Boulez-cover.jpg)

It can be bought in various incarnations, but the issue I listed above is the one I prefer as the remastering done is quite warm sounding. The soloists Siegmund Nimsgern and Tatiana Troyanos are two of the best vocalists I’ve heard in this opera. Of course, the duo of Walter Berry and Christa Ludwig is also top-notch, but I find Troyanos to be one of the most affecting roles I’ve ever heard in Judith. Nimsgern’s Bluebeard also has a rich timbre and resonance that goes hand-in-hand with how I personally would like to hear this role sung. Boulez’s accompaniment is, to be quite blunt, scorching. He gets the BBC Symphony Orchestra to perform with venom in their blood and razor-sharp fangs. Not to be missed! One of my all-time favorite recordings of anything.

After your vivid and glowing endorsement I simply have to dig through the piles to find this recording.....
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 21, 2018, 06:08:27 PM
Are the Boulez recordings of the opera sung in the original Hungarian?

Yep...

After your vivid and glowing endorsement I simply have to dig through the piles to find this recording.....

...good luck. ;D
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Moonfish on May 21, 2018, 06:18:26 PM
Yep...

...good luck. ;D

(http://eco-publicart.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/WasteLandscape-Web2-1000x500.jpg)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 21, 2018, 06:40:43 PM
(http://eco-publicart.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/WasteLandscape-Web2-1000x500.jpg)

LOL! :D That looks like my backyard at the moment! ;) :P
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Moonfish on May 22, 2018, 09:38:36 AM
LOL! :D That looks like my backyard at the moment! ;) :P

Yes, but you probably paid $15 per disc!   >:D
Expensive landscaping!
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: TheGSMoeller on May 22, 2018, 10:21:56 AM
Excellent to hear, Greg. 8) Glad you enjoyed this performance as much as I have. There’s something truly magical about Boulez’s way with Bartók. The only recording from Boulez I heard that I didn’t think much of was his second go-around with Bluebeard’s Castle on Deutsche Grammophon where I thought he was rather lethargic and didn’t really get to the heart of the work like he did with his first recording.

Can't quite remember the Boulez BB Castle on DG, but these 3 discs of Bartok's (mostly) orchestral music with the Chicago S.O. on DG has always been in my favorites list. The performances are great, the sound is great, even the cover art is great!

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/513ovN6v0%2BL._SY355_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61OmWkj4M2L.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51L03AJ28yL.jpg)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: TheGSMoeller on May 22, 2018, 10:25:44 AM
If my memory is to the trusted the recording of Two Portraits on this disc is my absolute favorite. I like his Concerto for Orchestra on Decca a little better.

One disc that really surprised me was the Dutoit recording of Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta.



Not a conductor you usually associate with Bartok, but this performance is my standard for that piece, which is probably my favorite work by Bartok (with the possible exception fo the string quartets).

Yes the Dutoit/Montreal is a good one. Montreal S.O. in the late 80s-90s with Dutoit has many phenomenally performed albums.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 22, 2018, 11:06:11 AM
Can't quite remember the Boulez BB Castle on DG, but these 3 discs of Bartok's (mostly) orchestral music with the Chicago S.O. on DG has always been in my favorites list. The performances are great, the sound is great, even the cover art is great!

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/513ovN6v0%2BL._SY355_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61OmWkj4M2L.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51L03AJ28yL.jpg)

This an auditory paradox on the “laurel/yanni” level. I find the audio in those recordings utterly insufferable. Literally painful, like fingernails on a chalkboard. Although most people seem to like them.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: TheGSMoeller on May 22, 2018, 02:53:07 PM
This an auditory paradox on the “laurel/yanni” level. I find the audio in those recordings utterly insufferable. Literally painful, like fingernails on a chalkboard. Although most people seem to like them.

You must hear laurel.   ;D
But yes I like the sound on these.

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 22, 2018, 03:16:46 PM
You must hear laurel.   ;D
But yes I like the sound on these.

Actually I did listen to the clip and hear something halfway in between.  :-\

Fortunately for me Boulez recorded most of that stuff for Columbia/Sony back in the day.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mahlerian on May 22, 2018, 06:15:07 PM
You must hear laurel.   ;D
But yes I like the sound on these.

I don't mind the sound on those, and I heard laurel (though if I pay attention to the high frequency stuff, I can hear where "yanny" comes from too).  Then again, I'm not an audiophile.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 22, 2018, 06:35:43 PM
Yes, but you probably paid $15 per disc!   >:D
Expensive landscaping!

Hah! Indeed. :)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 22, 2018, 06:37:12 PM
Can't quite remember the Boulez BB Castle on DG, but these 3 discs of Bartok's (mostly) orchestral music with the Chicago S.O. on DG has always been in my favorites list. The performances are great, the sound is great, even the cover art is great!

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/513ovN6v0%2BL._SY355_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61OmWkj4M2L.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51L03AJ28yL.jpg)

Oh yes, those are all great discs, which, contrary to Scrapia’s opinion, sound great to these ears.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: amw on May 22, 2018, 06:44:14 PM
I don't mind the sound on those, and I heard laurel (though if I pay attention to the high frequency stuff, I can hear where "yanny" comes from too).  Then again, I'm not an audiophile.
I can't hear laurel at all in that clip.

The Bartók Boulez series has.... very typical DG early digital sound, ie, kind of artificial sounding but not awful. What I'd consider "good sound" in Bartók is like, the Ozawa/Saito Kinen Orchestra CfO & Strings Percussion Celesta Music on Philips, or the Kocsis Hungarian State Orchestra series on Hungaroton in the "Bartók New Series"
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: kyjo on May 22, 2018, 06:45:55 PM
I'll put in a plug for one of my favorite Bartók recordings (if not my very favorite), these smashing renditions of the the three piano concerti by Bronfman and the LA Phil under Salonen:



Absolutely exhilarating (and in the case of the 3rd concerto, beautiful) stuff!
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: TheGSMoeller on May 22, 2018, 06:59:00 PM
I don't mind the sound on those, and I heard laurel (though if I pay attention to the high frequency stuff, I can hear where "yanny" comes from too).  Then again, I'm not an audiophile.

I listened on my phone and heard yanny. I heard it on TV and heard laurel. Perhaps even the source of the audio played a difference.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: TheGSMoeller on May 22, 2018, 07:01:42 PM
I'll put in a plug for one of my favorite Bartók recordings (if not my very favorite), these smashing renditions of the the three piano concerti by Bronfman and the LA Phil under Salonen:



Absolutely exhilarating (and in the case of the 3rd concerto, beautiful) stuff!

Looks familiar, I feel like I may have had that CD at one point. I lost a bunch of CDs in a move once a long time ago, total tragedy. But that's a killer trio of performers. I may have to re-buy!
Thanks for the rec, Kyjo.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 22, 2018, 10:00:14 PM
I listened on my phone and heard yanny. I heard it on TV and heard laurel. Perhaps even the source of the audio played a difference.
I read somewhere that what you hear depends on the relative sensitivity of your ears to high or low frequencies. I suppose playback system would also contribute.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Moonfish on May 22, 2018, 10:02:00 PM
I read somewhere that what you hear depends on the relative sensitivity of your ears to high or low frequencies. I suppose playback system would also contribute.

It also depends on the kind of beverage one is enjoying while listening.....    :D
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 22, 2018, 10:02:20 PM
I can't hear laurel at all in that clip.

The Bartók Boulez series has.... very typical DG early digital sound, ie, kind of artificial sounding but not awful. What I'd consider "good sound" in Bartók is like, the Ozawa/Saito Kinen Orchestra CfO & Strings Percussion Celesta Music on Philips, or the Kocsis Hungarian State Orchestra series on Hungaroton in the "Bartók New Series"

Artificial is a word I would use to describe it, typical of their “4D” recordings.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: aukhawk on May 22, 2018, 11:17:18 PM
The stated aim of 4D - according to DG's sleevenotes - was to reduce the background 'system' noise associated with all electronic recording processes, and particularly the noise introduced by long mic cable runs in big spaces.  This is all well and good but it's a completely pointless exercise since in any good system this noise is already much lower level than 'natural' auditorium ambience (air-con, 90 breathing musicians, distant muffled traffic and nesting birds, etc) which is all part and parcel of a recording of 'an orchestra'.  The only way to get a tangible or even measurable difference would be to use close multi-miking techniques, thus eliminating the ambience at the point of recording (and replacing it later) - so I guess that's what they did.
I like it - but you couldn't call it natural.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 22, 2018, 11:32:01 PM
I think the tangible difference was to allow them to increase the number of microphones that could practically be used,  My ideal is natural sound, so it made the sound worse, according to my taste. The mercury array or the old Decca tree was best.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on October 02, 2018, 10:33:25 PM
Latest on ClassicsToday:


A Charismatic Bartók-Surprise From Munich
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DogarukXoAEngQ-.jpg)
 (https://www.classicstoday.com/review/a-charismatic-bartok-surprise-from-munich/)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: pjme on October 30, 2018, 05:34:24 AM
It is cold, very windy and rainy in the Low Countries.  :(
This scintillating score, however, worked its uplifting magic immediately:

(https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-MGoaEYqsk8Q/UxXLD_sxA4I/AAAAAAAANa4/fdQWp9ZY7ho/s1600/Bal%C3%A1zs+B%C3%A9la,+F%C3%A1b%C3%B3l+faragott+kir%C3%A1lyfi,+bor%C3%ADt%C3%B3.jpg)
Splendid!

(https://s.s-bol.com/imgbase0/imagebase3/large/FC/4/7/7/4/1000004005734774.jpg)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Brewski on April 19, 2019, 01:49:35 PM
On Seen and Heard International, my review of Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra in two extraordinary Bartók evenings at Carnegie Hall. Really great, some of the best of the year (so far).

http://seenandheard-international.com/2019/04/fischer-and-budapest-combine-bartok-pedagogy-and-virtuosity/

--Bruce
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: vers la flamme on February 27, 2020, 05:14:02 AM
Wow, no Bartók talk in over a year. What gives?  :D

I have long struggled to enjoy the music of Bartók with a few exceptions: I fell in love with Bluebeard's Castle at first listen, both music and words—I found the story and the protagonist surprisingly relatable—and I think his 6 string quartets are a phenomenal body of work with much depth to them. I have had less success with his orchestral music. I like Music for Strings, Percussion & Celesta but I don't love it. Ditto for the Concerto for Orchestra, I often find myself getting bored with it (I probably just haven't heard the right recording in both cases).

Anyway, I recently got the piano concertos, Géza Anda, Ferenc Fricsay, RSO Berlin and have been enjoying it immensely. These are incredible works, up there with the best in the genre of their century. Anyone else been listening to these works lately? I just finished the second concerto, which I found to be the most challenging of the three on account of the huge, expansive, expressive slow movement, but I enjoyed it a lot. The first and third are much easier to grasp. Finally, I see these works as spiritual cousins to the five Prokofiev piano concertos, which I have been exploring simultaneously. In fact I may take a break from one or the other to avoid conflating them in my mind at such a crucial time in my exploration of this music.

Anyone else been listening to Bartók lately, the piano concertos or otherwise?

PS. What's a good recording of Bluebeard? I actually do not have one. The one I heard was Doráti/LSO and that's the one I will probably get, but I will try and explore other avenues first. The Boulez/Sony appears to be pretty well liked.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 27, 2020, 07:46:29 AM
Wow, no Bartók talk in over a year. What gives?  :D

I have long struggled to enjoy the music of Bartók with a few exceptions: I fell in love with Bluebeard's Castle at first listen, both music and words—I found the story and the protagonist surprisingly relatable—and I think his 6 string quartets are a phenomenal body of work with much depth to them. I have had less success with his orchestral music. I like Music for Strings, Percussion & Celesta but I don't love it. Ditto for the Concerto for Orchestra, I often find myself getting bored with it (I probably just haven't heard the right recording in both cases).

Anyway, I recently got the piano concertos, Géza Anda, Ferenc Fricsay, RSO Berlin and have been enjoying it immensely. These are incredible works, up there with the best in the genre of their century. Anyone else been listening to these works lately? I just finished the second concerto, which I found to be the most challenging of the three on account of the huge, expansive, expressive slow movement, but I enjoyed it a lot. The first and third are much easier to grasp. Finally, I see these works as spiritual cousins to the five Prokofiev piano concertos, which I have been exploring simultaneously. In fact I may take a break from one or the other to avoid conflating them in my mind at such a crucial time in my exploration of this music.

Anyone else been listening to Bartók lately, the piano concertos or otherwise?

PS. What's a good recording of Bluebeard? I actually do not have one. The one I heard was Doráti/LSO and that's the one I will probably get, but I will try and explore other avenues first. The Boulez/Sony appears to be pretty well liked.

Bartók is, of course, one of my favorites (in my own ‘Top 3’ along with Debussy and Ravel). The 2nd Piano Concerto is actually my favorite of the three. That slow movement of this 2nd PC is largely characteristic of his ‘night music’. If you don’t know about this kind of music that he wrote please do look it up --- I think there’s a Wikipedia article written exclusively about Bartók’s night music. I think one of the keys to understanding his orchestral music is listening to The Miraculous Mandarin. Once you get your teeth into this ballet, then everything else is much easier, IMHO. The Miraculous Mandarin is one of my favorites from him and I love the Modernist edge the music has to it. It’s quite a contrast with his other more folkish ballet, The Wooden Prince, which is also quite fine and, IMHO, underrated. The best Bluebeard’s Castle performances I know are Boulez on Columbia (Sony) and Kertész on Decca. Both of these performances are stellar and much better than any other performances I’ve heard, although I did like Haitink’s recording on EMI (this may prove a tougher recording to track down for a good price since it’s OOP). Yes, the SQs are incredible and an important body of work, but there’s a lot of great solo piano music that you should check out, too, like Out of Doors or the Piano Sonata for example. There’s  a good bit of choral music that’s worth looking into, but recordings of this part of his oeuvre are more difficult to come by, but most of it (if all) has been recorded on the Hungaroton label. Anyway, keep listening to his music. I think one day all of it will finally click for you. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a great fan of the Concerto for Orchestra, but the earlier Boulez account is scintillating and made me appreciate the work more than I have in the past.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: vers la flamme on February 27, 2020, 08:01:13 AM
Bartók is, of course, one of my favorites (in my own ‘Top 3’ along with Debussy and Ravel). The 2nd Piano Concerto is actually my favorite of the three. That slow movement of this 2nd PC is largely characteristic of his ‘night music’. If you don’t know about this kind of music that he wrote please do look it up --- I think there’s a Wikipedia article written exclusively about Bartók’s night music. I think one of the keys to understanding his orchestral music is listening to The Miraculous Mandarin. Once you get your teeth into this ballet, then everything else is much easier, IMHO. The Miraculous Mandarin is one of my favorites from him and I love the Modernist edge the music has to it. It’s quite a contrast with his other more folkish ballet, The Wooden Prince, which is also quite fine and, IMHO, underrated. The best Bluebeard’s Castle performances I know are Boulez on Columbia (Sony) and Kertész on Decca. Both of these performances are stellar and much better than any other performances I’ve heard, although I did like Haitink’s recording on EMI (this may prove a tougher recording to track down for a good price since it’s OOP). Yes, the SQs are incredible and an important body of work, but there’s a lot of great solo piano music that you should check out, too, like Out of Doors or the Piano Sonata for example. There’s  a good bit of choral music that’s worth looking into, but recordings of this part of his oeuvre are more difficult to come by, but most of it (if all) has been recorded on the Hungaroton label. Anyway, keep listening to his music. I think one day all of it will finally click for you. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a great fan of the Concerto for Orchestra, but the earlier Boulez account is scintillating and made me appreciate the work more than I have in the past.

Yes, I'm familiar with the night music thing, and I like his use of it in his string quartets especially. As for the Miraculous Mandarin, I have the suite, with Adam Fischer conducting the Hungarian State Opera Orchestra, on Brilliant (originally Nimbus). I liked it, but don't have much specific memory of it so I will have to revisit. Do you think the full ballet is worth exploring more so than the suite? I like his piano music, I have the Jenö Jandó Naxos disc of the first volume, and I have a couple books of Mikrokosmos that I play sometimes (it's the easy stuff). I think I have heard the Boulez/NYPO recording of the CfO once, I'll look out for a cheap copy, ditto for Bluebeard. Never heard the Kertesz, or anything of his really.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on February 27, 2020, 08:16:58 AM

PS. What's a good recording of Bluebeard? I actually do not have one. The one I heard was Doráti/LSO and that's the one I will probably get, but I will try and explore other avenues first. The Boulez/Sony appears to be pretty well liked.

There really are not that many recordings of this very effective work that _aren't_ quite good. Classics like Kertesz (https://amzn.to/2I38cvM) hold up well as do Doráti (https://amzn.to/397PgrJ), Fricsay (https://amzn.to/2PxSaOS) (but sung in German, which will be a no-go for most), and Ferencsik (https://amzn.to/3964ZaQ) (the only one with an all Hungarian cast until Ivan Fischer came around. (Philips SACD (https://amzn.to/395QRhF))

I like Boulez - but the DG recording (https://amzn.to/2vpso8z). Depends a bit how much one likes/comes to terms with Jessye Norman's Judith. Among modernish recordings, I probably favor Adam Fischer  (https://amzn.to/2TnKKhY)(Eva Marton/Sam Ramsey). If I wanted a first recording of these... and wasn't (as I am not) a native Hungarian speaker, I'd get Kertesz.



(https://66.media.tumblr.com/eeb3dfd77b0c0fe6c15a0c4856fa5ec2/tumblr_pg0rkyTiEc1tv9038o1_500.jpg)
#morninglistening to #BélaBartók w/@londonsymphony under #IstvanKertesz on @DECCAclassics (http://a-fwd.to/2vyOm88)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Irons on February 27, 2020, 08:26:51 AM
I find Bartok a strange one. Other composers set out to gain their audience attention with an arresting opening but Bartok does the opposite, take for example Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, is there a great work - which it is - with a more insipid opening? I get the impression that he writes his music for himself and could not give a toss if appreciated or not. Take it or leave it is his attitude. I admire that side of him so would never give up. The string quartets I have struggled with for years, the 4th I love and one of the greatest 20th century string quartets, the others I hammer away at, as my problem not his. It cannot be denied that Bartok is a giant of 20th century music.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 27, 2020, 08:31:09 AM
Yes, I'm familiar with the night music thing, and I like his use of it in his string quartets especially. As for the Miraculous Mandarin, I have the suite, with Adam Fischer conducting the Hungarian State Opera Orchestra, on Brilliant (originally Nimbus). I liked it, but don't have much specific memory of it so I will have to revisit. Do you think the full ballet is worth exploring more so than the suite? I like his piano music, I have the Jenö Jandó Naxos disc of the first volume, and I have a couple books of Mikrokosmos that I play sometimes (it's the easy stuff). I think I have heard the Boulez/NYPO recording of the CfO once, I'll look out for a cheap copy, ditto for Bluebeard. Never heard the Kertesz, or anything of his really.

I absolutely loathe Nimbus recordings --- the audio quality is the equivalent to getting a bath. The full ballet of The Miraculous Mandarin will always be preferable to the suite, IMHO, as the suite omits the wordless choir, which I think is a far out, cool effect, but also cuts about 20 something minutes from the complete ballet. I would check out the Kocsis recordings of the piano music --- it’s superior to any other pianists I’ve heard in this music. Kertész in Bluebeard has been a standard recommendation for decades. If you can find a cheap copy of it, then don’t hesitate to jump on it.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 27, 2020, 08:42:21 AM
I find Bartok a strange one. Other composers set out to gain their audience attention with an arresting opening but Bartok does the opposite, take for example Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, is there a great work - which it is - with a more insipid opening? I get the impression that he writes his music for himself and could not give a toss if appreciated or not. Take it or leave it is his attitude. I admire that side of him so would never give up. The string quartets I have struggled with for years, the 4th I love and one of the greatest 20th century string quartets, the others I hammer away at, as my problem not his. It cannot be denied that Bartok is a giant of 20th century music.

I absolutely LOVE the opening to Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta! Not insipid to me all --- it’s eerie, but so alluring to me and this is the kind of music that Bartók excels in. It’s like entering a world that exists of nothing but shadows and a constantly blowing cold wind. Love it. I don’t agree with your comment that Bartók wrote for himself and didn’t care anything about his audience. How can you make such a claim? Do you know the inner-workings of Bartók’s heart and mind? I think these kinds of opinions are silly and don’t really do the composer any favors whatsoever. The image I have of him in my own mind is someone that wrote music because it was all he knew how to do and in doing this, found himself alienated from the establishment, but if you listen to his early works you hear the tradition of Richard Strauss for example and little bit later the influence of Debussy, but when he started studying folk music from around Europe and Eurasia is when his music began to take on a life of its’ own and really where he found his own compositional voice.

Bartók recording folk songs from villagers:

(https://media.npr.org/assets/img/2018/03/23/bartok_recording_folk_music2-83a17da2e4b0cc361ae608c7acdf3df764fb94c4-s800-c85.jpg)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 27, 2020, 08:51:04 AM
There really are not that many recordings of this very effective work that _aren't_ quite good. Classics like Kertesz (https://amzn.to/2I38cvM) hold up well as do Doráti (https://amzn.to/397PgrJ), Fricsay (https://amzn.to/2PxSaOS) (but sung in German, which will be a no-go for most), and Ferencsik (https://amzn.to/3964ZaQ) (the only one with an all Hungarian cast until Ivan Fischer came around. (Philips SACD (https://amzn.to/395QRhF))

I like Boulez - but the DG recording (https://amzn.to/2vpso8z). Depends a bit how much one likes/comes to terms with Jessye Norman's Judith. Among modernish recordings, I probably favor Adam Fischer  (https://amzn.to/2TnKKhY)(Eva Marton/Sam Ramsey). If I wanted a first recording of these... and wasn't (as I am not) a native Hungarian speaker, I'd get Kertesz.



(https://66.media.tumblr.com/eeb3dfd77b0c0fe6c15a0c4856fa5ec2/tumblr_pg0rkyTiEc1tv9038o1_500.jpg)
#morninglistening to #BélaBartók w/@londonsymphony under #IstvanKertesz on @DECCAclassics (http://a-fwd.to/2vyOm88)

The Boulez Bluebeard on DG seems to get less favorable press. Many critics have said the conducting is dull and uninvolved. What’s your take on this, Jens? I wouldn’t mind revisiting this recording as I believe Norman was a great Judith. I loved her darker timbre.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on February 27, 2020, 09:29:02 AM
The Boulez Bluebeard on DG seems to get less favorable press. Many critics have said the conducting is dull and uninvolved.


I can't second "dull and uninvolved". I think it has thrust and cut and it executes with a sort of menacing determinability. You know it won't have a happy end pretty much by door 1, but that's not much of a spoiler alert. He bathes the stage in a grand movie-pan for door five; just as one ought to. Norman isn't, well... "integrated" into the fabric as much as Judith usually is. She always stands out. You're not quite sure who should be afraid. But it's a dramatic and beautiful reading.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Ratliff on February 27, 2020, 09:36:23 AM
The stated aim of 4D - according to DG's sleevenotes - was to reduce the background 'system' noise associated with all electronic recording processes, and particularly the noise introduced by long mic cable runs in big spaces.  This is all well and good but it's a completely pointless exercise since in any good system this noise is already much lower level than 'natural' auditorium ambience (air-con, 90 breathing musicians, distant muffled traffic and nesting birds, etc) which is all part and parcel of a recording of 'an orchestra'.  The only way to get a tangible or even measurable difference would be to use close multi-miking techniques, thus eliminating the ambience at the point of recording (and replacing it later) - so I guess that's what they did.
I like it - but you couldn't call it natural.

I think the practical result of "4D" was that they had the ability to use an much larger number of microphones for subsequent digital mixing. They often used it to implement a very close miking scheme, which allowed them to micromanage the balances, but resulted in an artificial sound. Many like the result, the clarity. But I find it insufferable. I like it best when a limited number of microphones is used and the sound is mixed by the hall, with a moderate amount of room presence. I'm thinking of pioneering work by Mercury Living Presence with 3 microphones suspended above the orchestra, RCA Living Stereo with a similar arrangement, the Decca Tree + outriggers. And of course some labels such as BIS and Telarc used similarly minimal microphone arrangements.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Ratliff on February 27, 2020, 09:43:42 AM
There really are not that many recordings of this very effective work that _aren't_ quite good. Classics like Kertesz (https://amzn.to/2I38cvM) hold up well as do Doráti (https://amzn.to/397PgrJ), Fricsay (https://amzn.to/2PxSaOS) (but sung in German, which will be a no-go for most), and Ferencsik (https://amzn.to/3964ZaQ) (the only one with an all Hungarian cast until Ivan Fischer came around. (Philips SACD (https://amzn.to/395QRhF))

I like Boulez - but the DG recording (https://amzn.to/2vpso8z). Depends a bit how much one likes/comes to terms with Jessye Norman's Judith. Among modernish recordings, I probably favor Adam Fischer  (https://amzn.to/2TnKKhY)(Eva Marton/Sam Ramsey). If I wanted a first recording of these... and wasn't (as I am not) a native Hungarian speaker, I'd get Kertesz.



(https://66.media.tumblr.com/eeb3dfd77b0c0fe6c15a0c4856fa5ec2/tumblr_pg0rkyTiEc1tv9038o1_500.jpg)
#morninglistening to #BélaBartók w/@londonsymphony under #IstvanKertesz on @DECCAclassics (http://a-fwd.to/2vyOm88)

I wish I would have gotten that Adam Fischer when it was in print (now it seems to require a bit of a wild-goose chase). The Kertesz is attractive, but I think they really went overboard with the "theatre of the mind" stuff. I just want to hear the orchestra play without all the weird shifts in soundstage. Plus the Hungarian diction sounds really odd to my ear with two German speakers.  (Never mind the creepy aspect of a soon-to-be-divorced man and wife portraying this misogynistic story.)

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: hvbias on February 27, 2020, 10:41:09 AM
Wow, no Bartók talk in over a year. What gives?  :D

I have long struggled to enjoy the music of Bartók with a few exceptions: I fell in love with Bluebeard's Castle at first listen, both music and words—I found the story and the protagonist surprisingly relatable—and I think his 6 string quartets are a phenomenal body of work with much depth to them. I have had less success with his orchestral music. I like Music for Strings, Percussion & Celesta but I don't love it. Ditto for the Concerto for Orchestra, I often find myself getting bored with it (I probably just haven't heard the right recording in both cases).

Anyway, I recently got the piano concertos, Géza Anda, Ferenc Fricsay, RSO Berlin and have been enjoying it immensely. These are incredible works, up there with the best in the genre of their century. Anyone else been listening to these works lately? I just finished the second concerto, which I found to be the most challenging of the three on account of the huge, expansive, expressive slow movement, but I enjoyed it a lot. The first and third are much easier to grasp. Finally, I see these works as spiritual cousins to the five Prokofiev piano concertos, which I have been exploring simultaneously. In fact I may take a break from one or the other to avoid conflating them in my mind at such a crucial time in my exploration of this music.

Anyone else been listening to Bartók lately, the piano concertos or otherwise?

PS. What's a good recording of Bluebeard? I actually do not have one. The one I heard was Doráti/LSO and that's the one I will probably get, but I will try and explore other avenues first. The Boulez/Sony appears to be pretty well liked.

Whenever I hear one of the string quartets there is a good chance I end up listening to all of them, they are IMHO among the very finest written in the 20th century (my overall favorite by Vegh Quartet, their stereo recordings). I really like those recordings by Geza Anda and Fricsay as well.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Jo498 on February 27, 2020, 11:22:48 AM
Dorati's singers in Bluebeard are both Hungarian, aren't they? (The orchestra isn't, though.) Not sure if I ever listened to it, but the orchestral works in that Mercury box are pretty good and the sound is still very remarkable after around 60 years, albeit with the typical "aggressive" Mercury quality. And I was somewhat dissapointed by Dorati's "Divertimento" when I did some comparisons of a few works a couple of months ago. The Divertimento is one of my great Bartok favorites. Vegh on Capriccio is very good and also a real dark Horse, Kegel with a Leipzig orchestra (maybe only in one of the Kegel boxes by Berlin/Eterna). And Harnoncourt's is also surprisingly good (whereas Holliger on Claves as filler for Veress and Dutilleux was another strangely "lame" one).
For a great Concerto f. Orchestra, Wooden Prince and Kossuth plus several odds and ends the Box by Ivan Fischer with that flowery design is extremely good. But overall Bartok seems very well covered on disc. Admittedly, I am not equally familiar with all of his works but of the major ones most recordings I have heard (usually around five or so) were mostly good to great.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 27, 2020, 07:24:26 PM
I can't second "dull and uninvolved". I think it has thrust and cut and it executes with a sort of menacing determinability. You know it won't have a happy end pretty much by door 1, but that's not much of a spoiler alert. He bathes the stage in a grand movie-pan for door five; just as one ought to. Norman isn't, well... "integrated" into the fabric as much as Judith usually is. She always stands out. You're not quite sure who should be afraid. But it's a dramatic and beautiful reading.

Thanks for the feedback, Jens. I must give this recording another listen. Honestly, I don’t personally remember having any objections about it.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Daverz on February 27, 2020, 07:29:26 PM
I wish I would have gotten that Adam Fischer when it was in print (now it seems to require a bit of a wild-goose chase). The Kertesz is attractive, but I think they really went overboard with the "theatre of the mind" stuff. I just want to hear the orchestra play without all the weird shifts in soundstage. Plus the Hungarian diction sounds really odd to my ear with two German speakers.  (Never mind the creepy aspect of a soon-to-be-divorced man and wife portraying this misogynistic story.)

 ::) ::) ::)

I think you should stay away from any films with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Ratliff on February 27, 2020, 08:32:33 PM
I think you should stay away from any films with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

Not a difficult task.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 27, 2020, 10:18:56 PM
Dorati's singers in Bluebeard are both Hungarian, aren't they? (The orchestra isn't, though.) Not sure if I ever listened to it, but the orchestral works in that Mercury box are pretty good and the sound is still very remarkable after around 60 years, albeit with the typical "aggressive" Mercury quality. And I was somewhat dissapointed by Dorati's "Divertimento" when I did some comparisons of a few works a couple of months ago. The Divertimento is one of my great Bartok favorites. Vegh on Capriccio is very good and also a real dark Horse, Kegel with a Leipzig orchestra (maybe only in one of the Kegel boxes by Berlin/Eterna). And Harnoncourt's is also surprisingly good (whereas Holliger on Claves as filler for Veress and Dutilleux was another strangely "lame" one).
For a great Concerto f. Orchestra, Wooden Prince and Kossuth plus several odds and ends the Box by Ivan Fischer with that flowery design is extremely good. But overall Bartok seems very well covered on disc. Admittedly, I am not equally familiar with all of his works but of the major ones most recordings I have heard (usually around five or so) were mostly good to great.

Yes, Dorati’s vocalists are Olga Szőnyi and Mihály Székely (both are Hungarian). Dorati’s Bartók was probably quite good for it’s time, but has since been outclassed by Boulez and A. Fischer. Dorati simply sounds scrappy by comparison. The Divertimento is an outstanding work and a favorite of mine as well. I like Boulez’s DG account and Solti’s. Both of these are powerful performances in completely different ways. Solti really cuts through with some aggressive playing whereas Boulez is more cerebral and eerily performed. Both performances are remarkable. It’s a shame Fischer never got around to recording this work as I think he would have done extremely well in it.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Irons on February 28, 2020, 12:55:14 AM
I absolutely LOVE the opening to Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta! Not insipid to me all --- it’s eerie, but so alluring to me and this is the kind of music that Bartók excels in. It’s like entering a world that exists of nothing but shadows and a constantly blowing cold wind. Love it. I don’t agree with your comment that Bartók wrote for himself and didn’t care anything about his audience. How can you make such a claim? Do you know the inner-workings of Bartók’s heart and mind? I think these kinds of opinions are silly and don’t really do the composer any favors whatsoever. The image I have of him in my own mind is someone that wrote music because it was all he knew how to do and in doing this, found himself alienated from the establishment, but if you listen to his early works you hear the tradition of Richard Strauss for example and little bit later the influence of Debussy, but when he started studying folk music from around Europe and Eurasia is when his music began to take on a life of its’ own and really where he found his own compositional voice.

Bartók recording folk songs from villagers:

(https://media.npr.org/assets/img/2018/03/23/bartok_recording_folk_music2-83a17da2e4b0cc361ae608c7acdf3df764fb94c4-s800-c85.jpg)

I don't know it, John. It is my impression - for what it is worth. Your "shadows and blowing wind" are my nothingness. I listened to the violin concerto last night. The opening consists of what imitates a couple of strums of a guitar and the solo violin meanders into what turns out a great concerto. There are other examples of what has informed this my opinion over the years and if I put my mind to it I will come up with some more*.

The exception - I'm sure there are many, many more - to my rule is the 4th SQ which I also listened last night, the opening of that work is pure Rock and Roll.

 Edit: * https://youtu.be/W988C7IYG9c
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on February 28, 2020, 03:08:52 AM
It’s a shame Fischer never got around to recording this work as I think he would have done extremely well in it.

Fischer-who? Were you thinking of a different conductor? Someone who's dead now? Or a Fischer that's not coming to mind right now?
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 28, 2020, 07:01:29 AM
Fischer-who? Were you thinking of a different conductor? Someone who's dead now? Or a Fischer that's not coming to mind right now?

Ivan Fischer.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 28, 2020, 07:04:12 AM
I don't know it, John. It is my impression - for what it is worth. Your "shadows and blowing wind" are my nothingness. I listened to the violin concerto last night. The opening consists of what imitates a couple of strums of a guitar and the solo violin meanders into what turns out a great concerto. There are other examples of what has informed this my opinion over the years and if I put my mind to it I will come up with some more*.

The exception - I'm sure there are many, many more - to my rule is the 4th SQ which I also listened last night, the opening of that work is pure Rock and Roll.

 Edit: * https://youtu.be/W988C7IYG9c

Okay, well all I can really gather from our exchange has been I love Bartók and you’re not much of a fan.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: hvbias on February 28, 2020, 07:11:15 AM
Ivan Fischer.

He could still record it, last year Budapest Festival Orchestra and him were playing some Bartok programs, though music he recorded in the past. I would love to hear it given the high level musicianship of Budapest Festival Orchestra and the strength of his past Bartok recordings.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 28, 2020, 07:15:28 AM
He could still record it, last year Budapest Festival Orchestra and him were playing some Bartok programs, though music he recorded in the past. I would love to hear it given the high level musicianship of Budapest Festival Orchestra and the strength of his past Bartok recordings.

I would, too, but I suspect it won’t happen. Was the Divertimento on any of those programs? If it wasn’t then my suspicion would be pretty accurate.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on February 29, 2020, 06:05:51 AM
Ivan Fischer.

But he _has_ recorded it (http://a-fwd.to/jUQegzw)!
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 29, 2020, 07:19:42 AM
But he _has_ recorded it (http://a-fwd.to/jUQegzw)!

I’m not talking about Bluebeard’s Castle, I’m talking about Divertimento. I know Fischer has recorded Bluebeard. I own it. :)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on February 29, 2020, 07:34:11 AM
I’m not talking about Bluebeard’s Castle, I’m talking about Divertimento. I know Fischer has recorded Bluebeard. I own it. :)

Oh, sorry. My bad! Too hasty in my supposed superior knowledge.  ;D
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 29, 2020, 07:47:08 AM
Oh, sorry. My bad! Too hasty in my supposed superior knowledge.  ;D

No worries! :)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 01, 2020, 09:25:51 PM
Cross-posted from the ‘Listening’ thread:

Bartók
Bluebeard’s Castle
Jessye Norman (soprano), László Polgár (bass)
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Pierre Boulez


(https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiNzk0MTUwNC4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwidG9Gb3JtYXQiOiJqcGVnIiwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX19LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE0NjQ3OTM4MzJ9)

Having just finished listening to this performance, allow me to offer some criticism I have for it. I think one of the biggest problems with this performance is the mis-match of vocalists. I do not find Jessye Norman to be a compelling Judith and, in fact, I felt no empathy for the character at all and the vocal performance while technically superb failed to touch me in any way. Baritone László Polgár just doesn’t have much of a commanding voice --- he sounds rather underwhelming compared to other performances I’ve heard like Siegmund Nimsgern or John Tomlinson. I think Boulez has a great command of the orchestra, but he can’t quite match his earlier self on Columbia. I think the earlier Boulez had an Expressionistic quality to it that outclassed this one. This isn’t to say I didn’t think his performance was terrible as it certainly wasn’t, but I think the sheer energy of the earlier performance was a better match than the more laser precision focus of this Chicago performance. Anyway, the earlier Boulez and Kertész are my go-to performances of this operatic masterpiece.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on March 02, 2020, 01:51:29 AM
...I do not find Jessye Norman to be a compelling Judith and, in fact, I felt no empathy for the character at all and the vocal performance while technically superb failed to touch me in any way. Baritone László Polgár just doesn’t have much of a commanding voice --- he sounds rather underwhelming compared to other ...

Quote
Norman isn't, well... "integrated" into the fabric as much as Judith usually is. She always stands out. You're not quite sure who should be afraid: [She or Bluebeard]

 ;D We hear the same thing. (I just mind it less.)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: hvbias on March 03, 2020, 04:18:02 PM
I would, too, but I suspect it won’t happen. Was the Divertimento on any of those programs? If it wasn’t then my suspicion would be pretty accurate.

Sorry John, this slipped by me. I'm certain it wasn't, that would have stood out if it was (though I was more keen on traveling to see Mahler), the piece I think I can recall was Concerto for Orchestra.

I don't know what the drama was surrounding him and Budapest, whatever it is seemed to have fortunately settled down, hopefully many more recordings with him are to come!
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 03, 2020, 05:59:58 PM
Sorry John, this slipped by me. I'm certain it wasn't, that would have stood out if it was (though I was more keen on traveling to see Mahler), the piece I think I can recall was Concerto for Orchestra.

I don't know what the drama was surrounding him and Budapest, whatever it is seemed to have fortunately settled down, hopefully many more recordings with him are to come!

I’ll be honest, I haven’t exactly followed Fischer’s career. I don’t really follow musicians too much. There have been some instances in the past where I’d be rather excited for a new release of a musician I love, but not much these days. It seems over the past 2-3 years or so, I’m simply trying to fill in gaps in my collection. Also, many composers I once liked, don’t really do much for me nowadays. I say a lot of this stems from my tastes changing and finally being able to stop listening to what people tell me is good and let my own ears do the listening. Some listeners here on GMG like to buy every recording of an ‘unknown great’ that gets released or continuously find new discoveries. Personally, I’m past that point. I have enough music in my collection to last me 20 lifetimes and it’s always an adventure to delve into the collection I already possess.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: hvbias on March 03, 2020, 06:32:33 PM
I’ll be honest, I haven’t exactly followed Fischer’s career. I don’t really follow musicians too much. There have been some instances in the past where I’d be rather excited for a new release of a musician I love, but not much these days. It seems over the past 2-3 years or so, I’m simply trying to fill in gaps in my collection. Also, many composers I once liked, don’t really do much for me nowadays. I say a lot of this stems from my tastes changing and finally being able to stop listening to what people tell me is good and let my own ears do the listening. Some listeners here on GMG like to buy every recording of an ‘unknown great’ that gets released or continuously find new discoveries. Personally, I’m past that point. I have enough music in my collection to last me 20 lifetimes and it’s always an adventure to delve into the collection I already possess.

I do a good amount of exploring with piano because I know it very well. Otherwise my comment on Fischer is really only because I find he is one of the few most consistent conductors recording today and with one of the world's best orchestras in reference level sound which is why I hoped he continued recording, hopefully in repertoire I want to explore instead of ones I'm burned out on. I just had a look at Channel Classics website, he has more discs I haven't heard than I have.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 03, 2020, 06:37:24 PM
I do a good amount of exploring with piano because I know it very well. Otherwise my comment on Fischer is really only because I find he is one of the few most consistent conductors recording today and with one of the world's best orchestras in reference level sound which is why I hoped he continued recording, hopefully in repertoire I want to explore instead of ones I'm burned out on. I just had a look at Channel Classics website, he has more discs I haven't heard than I have.

Fischer is a good conductor there’s no doubt about that. I don’t know his discography well, but I have liked his Bartók and he did a recording of Kodály that was also very good. But I don’t pretend to know his career very well and this really goes for a lot of musicians who have recorded favorite composers of mine. I have always been composer-centric in my collecting. There’s many listeners here who buy mega set after mega set of this or that musician and while those are neat, they wouldn’t get much mileage in my own collection.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: hvbias on March 04, 2020, 01:53:55 PM
Fischer is a good conductor there’s no doubt about that. I don’t know his discography well, but I have liked his Bartók and he did a recording of Kodály that was also very good. But I don’t pretend to know his career very well and this really goes for a lot of musicians who have recorded favorite composers of mine. I have always been composer-centric in my collecting. There’s many listeners here who buy mega set after mega set of this or that musician and while those are neat, they wouldn’t get much mileage in my own collection.

With the mega sets I get the impression it's from many decades of listening to an artist and getting to know them very well that they're almost like a familiar friend interpretation wise, ie a certain style that you know you like. And that this box essentially lets you fill in gaps for cheap, albums that were vinyl only, you couldn't find on vinyl when they came out, etc. On the Hoffman forum I definitely get the vibe that many of them are buying them for the sake of accumulation and some hardly get played. I'll use Vladimir Horowitz as an example, I started listening to him early on and most people flocking to his concerts probably loved him for his showmanship and virtuosity, that never really interested me but his phrasing, legato, the way he plays up or down certain sections, turn of a phrase all make him a supremely interesting artist in my eyes that even if it's not a home run with every composer he usually has something interesting to say since he only played music he liked.

I do some New Math (joke for anyone that has kids in the US ;) ) in my head on whether they are worth it or not for performances that would be new to me that might interest me after streaming them. Even missing some on streaming I've discovered some absolute gems in these boxes that I wouldn't have known otherwise, a recent one would be Robert Casadesus/Anna Moffo with some of Debussy's Songs. Unfortunately labels take individual CDs out of print pretty quickly that occasionally getting one of these boxes is quite a bit cheaper.

But yes there is nothing wrong with going about it from a composer point of view, I did the very same thing when I was new to classical. It was harder before the internet, it was basically relying on what a teacher said, what labels I liked, who I found consistent, accumulating a lot of discs I'd never play again, etc. And even doing this with composers I love some music still slips through the cracks so sets like the DG/Warner Debussy, Decca Bartok or my more recent Boulez boxes are pretty valuable to me. There are still a handful of composers I want to explore but by this point I have a firm grasp of what I like and don't like. For 20th century I'm much more interested in avant-garde than symphony music that resembles film scores so that also struck off a lot composers from my list, though I may have been too hasty in some of those decisions.

Interesting discourse, maybe a mod will want to split it off from this thread.

To keep this on Bartok I've put Annie Fischer's recordings of the 15 Hungarian Peasant Songs back in my heavy rotation these last few weeks, brilliant performances :D Among my favorite works from Bartok's solo keyboard music.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: vers la flamme on March 25, 2020, 02:27:23 PM
Happy birthday to a great composer. If I'd have known sooner I'd have listened to a lot more of his music. I'll try and get a couple of pieces in, though, and maybe a few tomorrow.

Right now, listening to the Hungarian Sketches for orchestra, w/ Fritz Reiner conducting. This is one of Bartók's most lighthearted works. It almost reminds me of certain English composers, a Delius or a Butterworth or some such. It has that kind of pastoral feel...
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: vers la flamme on March 25, 2020, 04:24:45 PM
Is there anyone else here who just can't get down with the CfO? I have tried it time and time again but I just don't find it engaging in any way, I'm sorry to say. I just listened now to the Reiner/Chicago and enjoyed it more than usual, though!
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Daverz on March 25, 2020, 05:48:39 PM
Is there anyone else here who just can't get down with the CfO? I have tried it time and time again but I just don't find it engaging in any way, I'm sorry to say. I just listened now to the Reiner/Chicago and enjoyed it more than usual, though!

It's meant to be a showpiece.  I don't think there's any hidden depths in it.  Perhaps you expecting too much, and this is causing you to miss what the piece has to offer.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: pjme on March 26, 2020, 02:19:18 AM
  I don't think there's any hidden depths in it. 

 ??? ??? ???
 For Bartók the work makes a gradual transition from the “severity of the first movement to the song of death in the third, and a reassertion of life in the finale.”
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: vers la flamme on June 04, 2020, 02:08:05 PM
I'm listening to the second Violin Concerto for the first time. Wow, this has to be one of Bartók's best pieces. I love the atmospheric, yet driving, rhapsodic quality of the first movement. Parts of it remind me of the Sibelius VC, parts remind me of later composers like Lutoslawski, but really it sounds totally unique. I haven't had such an instant connection with any of Bartók's works other than Bluebeard. This is a later work, but I think it deserves a name among his biggest achievements.

Any fans of the work here? Anyone listening lately?

The beginning of the slow movement almost reminds me of Mahler's Adagietto. Kind of interesting...  ;D
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mahlerian on June 05, 2020, 07:35:11 AM
I think the Second Violin Concerto is seen as marking a trend towards a simpler surface in Bartók's music. It certainly uses more openly triadic sonorities than the middle string quartets, for example, or the first two piano concertos. Personally, I didn't really take to the work at first myself, and only came around to it later after hearing a few different recordings, though I do now think it's one of the composer's great works.

Bartók made some comment about how he wanted to show Schoenberg that one could use all 12 tones and remain tonal in regards to one of the themes. It's strange that he didn't know that Schoenberg didn't think of his own music as atonal; it was just a label that others applied to him (which also makes it strange that people use this as a way of "proving" that Bartók's music is really tonal).

I hadn't noticed any similarity between the Mahler and the slow movement of the Bartók, but they do both begin with harp and strings filling in the upper minor third of a major chord before completing the triad, though Mahler characteristically holds out the tension and implies the minor for much longer.

A great work in any event.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: 71 dB on December 18, 2020, 05:13:18 PM
Althou it started in the David Hurwitz thread, I take things over here. I checked out the Violin Concertos (Naxos on Spotify).

Nice stuff. They did not sound as "Bartókian" as I expected. Quite a lot of lyricism to my surprise.  :)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on December 18, 2020, 05:47:12 PM
Althou it started in the David Hurwitz thread, I take things over here. I checked out the Violin Concertos (Naxos on Spotify).

Nice stuff. They did not sound as "Bartókian" as I expected. Quite a lot of lyricism to my surprise.  :)

You’ll find that in many of his orchestral works that there is a surprising number of moments of lyricism, but don’t get too comfortable with this as it doesn’t last too long. ;) Bartók is a composer that seems to divide many listeners as evidenced on this very forum. If you like solo piano music, then give a listen to Out of Doors as this is probably one of his most well-known works for piano and it’s a marvelous piece. This work will ease you into the other works written for solo piano. I’m not sure how you feel about opera, but Bluebeard’s Castle is an astounding work and a masterpiece, IMHO. What I like about it is there really isn’t a lot to keep up with plot wise nor are there numerous characters. It’s an opera of two unless you count the opening narration, which only acts as an introduction. Many recordings omit this prologue as it doesn’t really have anything to do with the music itself. I would also highly recommend the chamber works. If you haven’t heard his cycle of six SQs, then please do so. There’s a reason they’re some of the most oft-recorded SQs of the 20th Century. The ballet The Miraculous Mandarin is another long-time favorite. I can’t think of anything else in the ballet repertoire that really sounds like it. Even Le sacre sounds coherent by comparison. ;) I’ve loved this work for years. I’m less keen on The Wooden Prince, but it does have some good moments. I think it goes on a bit too long for its own good. It’s actually been awhile since I’ve listened to this ballet. One of my absolute favorite orchestral works from Bartók is the Divertimento for strings. What a piece! The more urgent a conductor is in this work, the better I like it so, if you want, check out the Solti/Chicago SO recording. I love all of the concerti, although I have a bit of ambivalence about the Viola Concerto. Okay, so I think you’ve got enough to digest right now. :P
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: 71 dB on December 18, 2020, 05:52:31 PM
You’ll find that in many of his orchestral works that there is a surprising number of moments of lyricism, but don’t get too comfortable with this as it doesn’t last too long. ;) Bartók is a composer that seems to divide many listeners as evidenced on this very forum. If you like solo piano music, then give a listen to Out of Doors as this is probably one of his most well-known works for piano and it’s a marvelous piece. This work will ease you into the other works written for solo piano. I’m not sure how you feel about opera, but Bluebeard’s Castle is an astounding work and a masterpiece, IMHO. What I like about it is there really isn’t a lot to keep up with plot wise nor are there numerous characters. It’s an opera of two unless you could the opening narration, which only acts as an introduction. Many recordings omit this prologue as it doesn’t really have anything to do with music itself. I would also highly recommend the chamber works. If you haven’t heard his cycle of six SQs, then please do so. There’s a reason they’re some of the most oft-recorded SQs of the 20th Century. The ballet The Miraculous Mandarin is another long-time favorite. I can’t think of anything else in the ballet repertoire that really sounds like it. Even Le sacre sounds coherent by comparison. ;) I’ve loved this work for years. I’m less keen on The Wooden Prince, but it does have some good moments. I think it goes on a bit too long for its own good. It’s actually been awhile since I’ve listened to this ballet. One of my absolute favorite orchestral works from Bartók is the Divertimento for strings. What a piece! The more urgent in this work, the better I like it, so, if you want, check out the Solti/Chicago SO recording. I love all of the concerti, although I have a bit of ambivalence about the Viola Concerto. Okay, so I think you’ve got enough to digest right now. :P

Yeah, enough, thanks. No hurry. I started Bluebeard’s Castle, but after 10 minutes of so I stopped. Too much too fast... ...not an opera nut anyway.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on December 18, 2020, 06:15:24 PM
Yeah, enough, thanks. No hurry. I started Bluebeard’s Castle, but after 10 minutes of so I stopped. Too much too fast... ...not an opera nut anyway.

You’re welcome. I’m not an opera fan either, but I love Bluebeard. If you can slog through Elgar’s oratorios, you shouldn’t have a problem with this work. ;)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: 71 dB on December 18, 2020, 07:07:07 PM
You’re welcome. I’m not an opera fan either, but I love Bluebeard. If you can slog through Elgar’s oratorios, you shouldn’t have a problem with this work. ;)

It's not so much about "slogging through" and more about how many hours of new music can I take in within a few hours. I was also watching Snooker on tv (Judd Trump vs Ronnie O'Sullivan) so it was multitasking anyway.

Elgar is my FAVORITE composer so his oratorios are absolute gold for me. Bartók hardly even gets to my top 10, but he is one of those composer I might like to occationally listen to for a change and I also want to simply know his output better.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on December 19, 2020, 04:44:35 AM
Althou it started in the David Hurwitz thread, I take things over here. I checked out the Violin Concertos (Naxos on Spotify).

Nice stuff. They did not sound as "Bartókian" as I expected. Quite a lot of lyricism to my surprise.  :)
There was a live version on youtube that someone pointed out to me years ago which was amazing.  It was with Chung and I want to say her brother conducting; alas it was never released on CD.  She is an amazing interpreter of Bartok.  :)

PD
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: hvbias on December 19, 2020, 05:44:11 AM
Althou it started in the David Hurwitz thread, I take things over here. I checked out the Violin Concertos (Naxos on Spotify).

Nice stuff. They did not sound as "Bartókian" as I expected. Quite a lot of lyricism to my surprise.  :)

There is plenty of lyricism in Bartok's music, I think he is written off when someone jumps straight in by listening to something like his later string quartets, maybe given as a recommendation based on how supremely exceptional they are but not the place to start for someone that isn't well into this style.

Here is one of my favorite works from him, the 15 Hungarian Peasant Songs, nice that Youtube has this as Annie Fischer is also my favorite performer of it:

https://www.youtube.com/v/HhxEmYJkz8Y
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: hvbias on December 19, 2020, 06:03:27 AM
Rounding out 2020, a great Bartok year for me... better than Beethoven :) . Takacs' first recording of the string quartets now making my favorite cycles (Takacs II would be ranked in the middle to second half). Along with Andor Foldes DG box with some of the best Bartok solo keyboard performances I've ever heard. Gyorgy Sandor not new to me, just a nice upgrade in sound quality from some of the older CDs I had.

(https://i.imgur.com/YWqLiig.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61iuJR8dx2L._SL800_.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/2efC4k7.jpg)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: 71 dB on December 19, 2020, 06:43:21 AM
Okay, finished Bluebeard’s Castle.  :P Can't say it is for me. I was underwhelmed as much I am with Janacek's Glagolitic Mass wondering what exactly is the greatness people hear in these works. So far the Piano and Violin Concertos have worked the best for me. Violin Concertos especially worked better for me than I anticipated.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: pjme on December 19, 2020, 07:25:36 AM
Okay, finished Bluebeard’s Castle.  :P Can't say it is for me.
....wondering what exactly is the greatness people hear in these works...

So be it and don't worry. fair enough. ..."des goûts et des couleurs"... etc, etc. That should be clear to you by now?

I love both works immensely: grandeur combined with fervour, mystery and/or "earthy" religiosity. Both the mass and the fairy tale are a "mysterium fascinosum" (“mystery that attracts”), by which humans are irresistibly drawn to the glory, beauty, adorable quality, and the blessing, redeeming, and salvation-bringing power....( source Brittanica). There's no kitsch, floaty sentimentality, bluff...just superb music.


Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on December 19, 2020, 07:28:40 AM
Okay, finished Bluebeard’s Castle.  :P Can't say it is for me. I was underwhelmed as much I am with Janacek's Glagolitic Mass wondering what exactly is the greatness people hear in these works. So far the Piano and Violin Concertos have worked the best for me. Violin Concertos especially worked better for me than I anticipated.

I’m wondering what the greatness you hear in those overblown Elgar oratorios, too. ;) It boils down to this: some people like it, some people don’t. At least you listened, so that’s an important first-step in understanding a piece of music of any kind. Oh and Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass is an incredible piece. For this listener, it was love on first-listen.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: 71 dB on December 19, 2020, 08:32:22 AM
I’m wondering what the greatness you hear in those overblown Elgar oratorios, too. ;) It boils down to this: some people like it, some people don’t. At least you listened, so that’s an important first-step in understanding a piece of music of any kind. Oh and Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass is an incredible piece. For this listener, it was love on first-listen.

I like the orchestral colors Elgar uses and how he makes the thematic material "dance" in a multidimensional way (different sounds affect each other in several musical dimensions: Harmony, melody, timbre, rhyhtm, etc.) I love how Elgar throws in suddenly sounds that are surprising and propriate at the same time. It's like combining colors in a clever way. It all just sounds so damn awesome to my ears. Of Elgar's oratorios Gerontius is the easiest to enjoy because it presents it's greatness in a direct manner, but I consider the Apostles and the Kingdom even greater works and much more demanding for the listener. 

Yeah, I am listening to Bartók and getting a better grasp of how much Bartók is to my liking overall and which works by him are to my taste. You never know before you listen. Sometimes you discover awesome works when you least expect it...  :P
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on December 19, 2020, 08:52:09 AM
I like the orchestral colors Elgar uses and how he makes the thematic material "dance" in a multidimensional way (different sounds affect each other in several musical dimensions: Harmony, melody, timbre, rhyhtm, etc.) I love how Elgar throws in suddenly sounds that are surprising and propriate at the same time. It's like combining colors in a clever way. It all just sounds so damn awesome to my ears. Of Elgar's oratorios Gerontius is the easiest to enjoy because it presents it's greatness in a direct manner, but I consider the Apostles and the Kingdom even greater works and much more demanding for the listener. 

Yeah, I am listening to Bartók and getting a better grasp of how much Bartók is to my liking overall and which works by him are to my taste. You never know before you listen. Sometimes you discover awesome works when you least expect it...  :P

Not to turn this into an Elgar thread, but I do like much of Elgar’s music. I think his Violin Concerto for example is one of the finest Late-Romantic concerti in the repertoire. I’m less keen on the Cello Concerto, but it might do me some good to revisit this work. Sea Pictures is a work I’ve always greatly admired. The 2nd symphony is also sublime --- that Larghetto movement never fails to move me. The Violin Sonata is remarkable, too. I understand the Elgarian ‘pathos’ rather well. Those mood swings and the introspection do not go unnoticed by me at all. I guarantee you that I’m more of an Elgarian than many other members here. :) I like his music and even though I don’t listen to it as much as I have in the past, doesn’t mean I don’t like the composer. There’s always a possibility to rediscover music from your past that has touched you in some way or another that makes you feel what you felt when you were really into this composer’s music. I need to get back into Elgar and Vaughan Williams as I consider these two of the finest composers to come out of England (next to Britten).
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: aukhawk on December 20, 2020, 04:06:10 AM
... I love all of the concerti, ...

Just not the Concerto for Orchestra, which I always hear as something of a musical blunt instrument.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on December 20, 2020, 08:21:01 AM
Just not the Concerto for Orchestra, which I always hear as something of a musical blunt instrument.

I still have yet to fully appreciate this work and I realize how important it is within Bartók's oeuvre, but it’s just not for me.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Jo498 on December 20, 2020, 08:33:24 AM
I might not like the Concerto for orchestra as much as I used to (it must have been among the first Bartok pieces I encountered and was my favorite for some time) but I still like it a lot (more than the violin and certainly far more than the viola concerto), if not as much as Music for strings, percussion..., Divertimento or the piano concertos. In any case its popularity is quite understandable as it is as accessible as the 3rd piano concerto or divertimento and more brilliant ("orchestral spectacular").
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Irons on December 21, 2020, 02:16:19 AM
I might not like the Concerto for orchestra as much as I used to (it must have been among the first Bartok pieces I encountered and was my favorite for some time) but I still like it a lot (more than the violin and certainly far more than the viola concerto), if not as much as Music for strings, percussion..., Divertimento or the piano concertos. In any case its popularity is quite understandable as it is as accessible as the 3rd piano concerto or divertimento and more brilliant ("orchestral spectacular").

It is and Concerto for Orchestra attracts the top conductors and sound engineers of the day. I play the Reiner Chicago SO parodically to marvel at the precision of it all. This would be in my top ten of the greatest recordings ever made. I think there is an element, I can suffer from it myself, of rejecting the most popular work of a composer's opus. 

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on December 21, 2020, 03:16:06 AM
It is and Concerto for Orchestra attracts the top conductors and sound engineers of the day. I play the Reiner Chicago SO parodically to marvel at the precision of it all. This would be in my top ten of the greatest recordings ever made. I think there is an element, I can suffer from it myself, of rejecting the most popular work of a composer's opus.
Perhaps due to overexposure?   :-\

PD
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: pjme on December 21, 2020, 03:37:05 AM
Perhaps due to overexposure?   :-\

Possibly...But I would gladly see it performed more often. So that Dvoraks 9th, Mendelsohns 4th and Beethovens 5th and co.....and a whole bunch of violin & cello & pianoconcerti (Sibelius, Dvorak, Mendelssohn, Tsjaikovsky, Rachmaninov and co)
would be banned for at least a year from the podium.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Jo498 on December 21, 2020, 05:31:48 AM
In the case of the Bartok CfO I am wondering if most popular (orchestral) piece is still true. It's probably a lot closer with the solo concerti than a few decades ago and in the postwar era up to the mid-60s the 3rd piano concerto might have been more popular (certainly far easier to present by an orchestra not on the highest level), or a minor piece like the Dance suite.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: pjme on December 21, 2020, 07:19:16 AM
I agree. And I fear that Bartok in general is much less programmed than , say 10-15 years ago.
Most Bartok is perceived as difficult, I think. Many concert organisations try to draw in crowds with cross over and film music.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: BasilValentine on December 21, 2020, 08:59:48 AM
Just not the Concerto for Orchestra, which I always hear as something of a musical blunt instrument.

It's not really a concerto. It's an outstandingly good 20thc symphony. Better sharpen those ears. ;)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: OrchestralNut on January 27, 2021, 07:27:52 AM
First listen to Bartók's "Variations on a theme by F. F.", for solo piano.

Performed by Giuseppe Albanese.

From the complete Bartók Decca box set.

What a marvelous work!
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 27, 2021, 07:38:12 AM
First listen to Bartók's "Variations on a theme by F. F.", for solo piano.

Performed by Giuseppe Albanese.

From the complete Bartók Decca box set.

What a marvelous work!

I can’t remember if I’ve heard this work or not. I’ll check it out. Thanks for the alert, Ray.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: OrchestralNut on January 27, 2021, 07:54:35 AM
I can’t remember if I’ve heard this work or not. I’ll check it out. Thanks for the alert, Ray.

Disc 29!  :D
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 27, 2021, 08:05:01 AM
Disc 29!  :D

Yep, I’ll definitely be listening today, my friend.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Brian on January 27, 2021, 07:46:23 PM
FF = Ferenc Farkas?
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 27, 2021, 07:54:53 PM
FF = Ferenc Farkas?

I believe this is correct. Not much is known about the work Thema and Twelve Variations on a Theme by F.F.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: pjme on January 28, 2021, 05:19:51 AM
FF = Ferenc Farkas?

Bartok's composition Scherzo in B flat minor (1900) was composed during his early years of study and inspired by his love for his classmate Felicie Fábián. The opening motif, F–F–B flat–B flat, is based on their initials, F. F. and B. B..  Fabian and Bartok worked together closely as students, sharing notes and critiquing each other's compositions. The Scherzo in B flat minor is one of three pieces related to her, which also include a set of piano variations on a theme by her (B.B. 22). (15842)

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 28, 2021, 07:04:11 AM
Bartok's composition Scherzo in B flat minor (1900) was composed during his early years of study and inspired by his love for his classmate Felicie Fábián. The opening motif, F–F–B flat–B flat, is based on their initials, F. F. and B. B..  Fabian and Bartok worked together closely as students, sharing notes and critiquing each other's compositions. The Scherzo in B flat minor is one of three pieces related to her, which also include a set of piano variations on a theme by her (B.B. 22). (15842)

Most interesting. Thanks for this information, pjme.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: pjme on January 28, 2021, 07:25:05 AM
I had my doubts about Farkas ....born in 1905, the variations written in 1900/1901.

Változatok F.F. egy témája fölött [Twelve Variations on a Theme of Felicie Fábián)] Date—1900–1901 Pub—in Denijs Dille, Der junge Bartók II.

I've never heard these early variations. Impressions?

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: OrchestralNut on January 28, 2021, 07:32:36 AM
I had my doubts about Farkas ....born in 1905, the variations written in 1900/1901.

Változatok F.F. egy témája fölött [Twelve Variations on a Theme of Felicie Fábián)] Date—1900–1901 Pub—in Denijs Dille, Der junge Bartók II.

I've never heard these early variations. Impressions?

I thought it to be a marvelous work by Bartók!
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 28, 2021, 08:39:30 AM
I had my doubts about Farkas ....born in 1905, the variations written in 1900/1901.

Változatok F.F. egy témája fölött [Twelve Variations on a Theme of Felicie Fábián)] Date—1900–1901 Pub—in Denijs Dille, Der junge Bartók II.

I've never heard these early variations. Impressions?

I have yet to listen to it. I’ve heard most of Bartók’s solo piano works, but this is one that has slipped through the cracks. I hope to rectify this in tonight’s listening session.
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Herman on January 30, 2021, 04:10:57 AM
Possibly...But I would gladly see it performed more often. So that Dvoraks 9th, Mendelsohns 4th and Beethovens 5th and co.....and a whole bunch of violin & cello & pianoconcerti (Sibelius, Dvorak, Mendelssohn, Tsjaikovsky, Rachmaninov and co)
would be banned for at least a year from the podium.

well, basically every single note is banned from the concert podium now, thanks to Covid.

However, indeed, chances are that once concert life resumes the war horses will have grown even stronger...
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: OrchestralNut on May 03, 2021, 09:43:47 AM
Greatly enjoying my first ever listen to these works!

44 Duos for two violins, BB104

Sarah and Deborah Nemtanu, violins

Sonata for Solo Violin, BB124

Viktoria Mullova, violin

Decca

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71XfkGImDVL._AC_SX342_.jpg)

 

Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 03, 2021, 01:13:51 PM
Greatly enjoying my first ever listen to these works!

44 Duos for two violins, BB104

Sarah and Deborah Nemtanu, violins

Sonata for Solo Violin, BB124

Viktoria Mullova, violin

Decca

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71XfkGImDVL._AC_SX342_.jpg)

Yep, great stuff, Ray!
Title: "Bluebeard's Castle" in new chamber version, free to view Aug. 13-17
Post by: Brewski on July 23, 2021, 06:45:20 AM
This looks most interesting:

"The English Symphony Orchestra (ESO) complete their first year of Music from Wyastone virtual concerts with a concert performance of Béla Bartók’s one-act opera, Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, written in 1911. The performance, which premieres on ESO Digital at 7:30pm on Friday 13 August, marks the first performance of a new arrangement of the opera, for 25 performers including organ, by the ESO’s Assistant Conductor, Michael Karcher-Young, and Australian conductor and arranger, Chris van Tuinen. The work is sung in Hungarian and English subtitles are provided."

English Symphony Orchestra
Kenneth Woods, Conductor
April Fredrick, Judith / David Stout, Bluebeard

http://www.colinscolumn.com/bartoks-opera-bluebeards-castle-english-symphony-orchestra-perform-new-chamber-version-free-digital-concert-available-from-13-august/

--Bruce
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Brewski on August 25, 2021, 06:42:46 AM
"One of the most welcome distractions of 2021 has been the Tesla Quartet's exploration of Bartók’s magnificent contributions to the genre."

In the September issue of The Strad, my article on the quartet and their Bartók journey (all on YouTube) that included interviews, rehearsals, and performances.

https://www.thestrad.com/reviews/live-streamed-concert-review-tesla-quartet-a-bartok-journey/13376.article

--Bruce
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on August 25, 2021, 07:44:02 AM
"One of the most welcome distractions of 2021 has been the Tesla Quartet's exploration of Bartók’s magnificent contributions to the genre."

In the September issue of The Strad, my article on the quartet and their Bartók journey (all on YouTube) that included interviews, rehearsals, and performances.

https://www.thestrad.com/reviews/live-streamed-concert-review-tesla-quartet-a-bartok-journey/13376.article

--Bruce
Oh, cool!  I look forward to watching those!  Question:  So is Károly Schranz one of the members of Tesla?  Or was he one of the people with whom the group spoke to about the quartets?  Or something else?

You had written:  "In comments about the Fifth, Károly Schranz – founding second violinist of the Takács Quartet – mentioned going to Banff in 1981. There he studied Bartók with Zoltán Székely, violinist of the Hungarian Quartet, whose bragging rights included working directly with the composer."

PD

p.s.  Been visiting (sometimes revisiting) some of the Bartok recordings that I have these past few days.  :)
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Brewski on August 25, 2021, 08:20:43 AM
First, thanks for reading! I am never sure who reads these things, and I'm grateful to be writing for the magazine, given a) the state of music journalism, and b) the state of print publications.

And no, Schranz is actually now in Boulder, Colorado, teaching at the University of Colorado. The Tesla members interviewed him, given his unique point of view.

What are some of the recordings you've been listening to? (As far as CDs of the quartets, I think the only complete set I have is by the Emerson's. It's a good set, but obviously there are many others these days.)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on August 25, 2021, 08:56:44 AM
First, thanks for reading! I am never sure who reads these things, and I'm grateful to be writing for the magazine, given a) the state of music journalism, and b) the state of print publications.

And no, Schranz is actually now in Boulder, Colorado, teaching at the University of Colorado. The Tesla members interviewed him, given his unique point of view.

What are some of the recordings you've been listening to? (As far as CDs of the quartets, I think the only complete set I have is by the Emerson's. It's a good set, but obviously there are many others these days.)

--Bruce
Well, thanks for writing!  :)

The first recording of his string quartets that I purchased was with the Takacs Quartet.  I found one used (not terribly long ago) with the Keller Quartet (but haven't listened to it yet to be honest).

In terms of recent listening:  today--his Concerto Pour Alto on Calliope with Vladimir Bukac, the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra and Valek.  Yesterday or the day before:  his Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1 with André Gertler and Diane Anderson on Supraphon (4-CD box set of Bartok's violin works).

By the way, I tried the link from that review and it didn't work.  I was able to find the quartets, practices and interviews/discussion on youtube though.  Hard to figure out the order that they were done though.   ::)  Good ole youtube!  ;)

Best wishes,

PD
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Brewski on August 25, 2021, 09:14:00 AM
In terms of recent listening:  today--his Concerto Pour Alto on Calliope with Vladimir Bukac, the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra and Valek.  Yesterday or the day before:  his Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1 with André Gertler and Diane Anderson on Supraphon (4-CD box set of Bartok's violin works).


Ah, thanks. Not familiar with any of those! Nice to have so many choices, and the Gertler/Anderson sounds like something I should seek out.

(And sorry for the link not working. I just write, I don't format! But glad you found the stuff, anyway.)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on August 25, 2021, 09:21:40 AM
Ah, thanks. Not familiar with any of those! Nice to have so many choices, and the Gertler/Anderson sounds like something I should seek out.

(And sorry for the link not working. I just write, I don't format! But glad you found the stuff, anyway.)

--Bruce
The Gertler set is quite special.  You can read more about him/it here:  https://www.supraphon.com/album/245-bartok-violin-works-complete

Best,

PD