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Thread: Cycle review: Bartok

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    Anyone enjoy listening to the later books of Mikrokosmos? Or the Etudes?
    I don't pick 'n choose. As with most "serial" works, I like the progression.

  2. #32
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kontrapunctus View Post
    This is my favorite Bartok Quartet set:

    Is this available in standard CD form? Description says SACD hardware required.

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    Quote Originally Posted by starthrower View Post
    Is this available in standard CD form? Description says SACD hardware required.
    I see that on the Amazon page, but in the upper corner of the album it says "HSACD ... hybrid disc". Normally "hybrids" are playable on an ordinary CD. Amazon also has a page in its "Digital Music" section which says that on July 14, 2014, this will become available as a download (and thus considerably less expensive than the current import price).
    Last edited by Alypius; Jul-05-2014 at 16:00.

  4. #34
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    ^^^
    I'm comparing this to the Alban Berg set I have. The Mikrokosmos recording sounds a bit warmer and more full bodied, which is what I'm looking for.

  5. #35
    Senior Member Blake's Avatar
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    Bartok has become one of my all-time favorites, and I'm still having trouble fully grasping his quartets. They're deadly little things. Spikey and intimidating... These aren't faint-hearted works. I'm sure with time I'll find the honey in this hive. The Takacs does a great job.

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  7. #36
    Senior Member Kontrapunctus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starthrower View Post
    Is this available in standard CD form? Description says SACD hardware required.
    It's only available in this format, but it will play on a standard CD; you'll just lose the extra warmth and detail of the SACD audio. If you buy it from a seller rather than Amazon itself, the set costs only $23.47, quite a bargain.

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    Here's the Ebène Quartet playing the 4th, rather well I think

    Last edited by Mandryka; Aug-31-2014 at 07:57.

  9. #38
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    I've been listening to some Barktok lately and would like to bring some input to the discussion.

    String Quartet (a fine interpretation)
    51yfuKHonFL._SY300_.jpg

    A bit off topic but on the same composer:
    0028944739923.jpg
    "Without music, life would be a mistake." Friedrich Nietzsche
    一期一会

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    Senior Member Avey's Avatar
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    Piano Quintet is seriously profound.

    That is all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by violadude View Post
    Overall, I haven't found a better Beethoven String Quartet recording than theirs.
    Ugh. I detest the Emerson's Beethoven cycle as much as I enjoy their Bartok. What other Beethoven Cycles are you comparing them to, Violadude?

  12. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triplets View Post
    Ugh. I detest the Emerson's Beethoven cycle as much as I enjoy their Bartok. What other Beethoven Cycles are you comparing them to, Violadude?
    Oh no. I was saying that I really like the Quartetto Italiano Beethoven string quartet cycle, not the Emerson's

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  14. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triplets View Post
    Ugh. I detest the Emerson's Beethoven cycle as much as I enjoy their Bartok. What other Beethoven Cycles are you comparing them to, Violadude?
    Triplets, Can we keep this thread focused on Bartok? There are other threads with ample discussion of Beethoven cycles. Thanks.
    Last edited by Alypius; Sep-20-2014 at 04:56.

  15. #43
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    Some notes on Bartok's 5th Quartet:

    I should begin by noting that while I love all six of Bartok's, this is my favorite. And it is my favorite because of its ferocious rhythms, its marvelous melodies, and simply brilliant architecture whose repeated parallels give it a tight coherence and integrity.

    Like a number of other works of Bartok (Piano Concerto #2, String Quartet #4, Concerto for Orchestra), this five-movement work follows an "arch form". In other words, the first movement (Allegro) and the fifth movement (Finale: Allegro vivace-Presto) are parallel, as are the second movement (Adagio molto) and the fourth movement (Andante), while the third movement sits at the center of the arch. The opening movement opens with ferocious, even savage rhythms. Yet it is in sonata form with three intertwining threads: the repeated rhythm figure, a second rhythmic figure overlaid with short melodic fragments, and a flowing melody in triple rhythm. The second movement is another of Bartok's "night music" (trills, tremolos, pizzicatos, emphemeral scales), punctuated with lush searching melodies (and melodic fragments). Lots of "insects" buzzing amid longings and yearnings. The third movement -- which is the capstone for the arch -- is itself symmetical, since it follows a scherzo - trio - scherzo pattern. The opening rhythm is almost a funky strut. The heart of it is one of folk dances that Bartok either recorded (or it's an imitation) (Bartok calls it "alla bulgarese"). The closing scherzo is almost frantic, an exhausting dance. The fourth movement is essentially variations on the second. The Finale, after a few notes, returns to the ferocious rhythmic opening of the first. One famous--satirical--moment towards the end is a barrel-organ parody of the main theme, a drunken, staggering, slowed down version. And then the final intricately-threaded climax. It ends so abruptly as to catch one off guard.
    Last edited by Alypius; Sep-20-2014 at 05:22.

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  17. #44
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    What do the Bartok people think of the 44 violin duos. This mixture of traditional music and more modern styles-- is there a performance which brings out the innovation rather than the folklore (that's just reflecting my own musical preferences)? Is it all interesting to hear (unlike mikrokosmos) -- or is there a best bit? I notice that bitonal music comes up pretty early on -- in Bk 1. I hadn't noticed much interesting music in the early books of mikrokosmos -- maybe someone will put me right about that. There are recordings of the violin duos for cello and viola, and there's also the Petite Suite. Any of these things revealing, exciting?
    Last edited by Mandryka; Sep-20-2014 at 10:17.

  18. #45
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    In the lp era, the Bartok cycle would comfortably occupy 3 lps, and there was no perceived need for a "filler." In the CD era many cycles have had Added Quartets by other Composers to fill out the CDs. I've seen sets that added the Ravel, or one of the Janacek, or Ligetti Quartets.
    The Bartok Quartets are so unique that I think such efforts are artistically misguided. The Ligetti First Quartet is clearly influenced by the Bartok so it makes some sense. Janacek uses the rhythms and cadences of Czech speech, so there may be a parallel with Bartok, but I think Bartok use of folk materials is very different, more like Stravinsky, so that I think these Composers made strange disc mates. I understand that Bartok may have been influenced by Ravel and/or Debussy, but the gulf between Bartok and those two again makes for an odd pairing.
    I guess in the download/streaming era such pairing considerations will become irrelevant.

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