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Thread: Béla Bartók

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    Default Béla Bartók

    Béla Bartók lifted European music into the twentieth century... by standing on ancient foundations. He created a "modern" sound based on studies of music that predated the mainstream of European musical development. With a solid intellectual and theoretical base, he made music that touches the heart and soul... and why didn't he have a guestbook sooner? Bartók taught me how to listen to music, so I'm glad that in this very small way, I can return the favor.
    Last edited by msegers; Oct-17-2008 at 19:53. Reason: Word missing

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    Junior Member Zombo's Avatar
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    The piano concertos are amongst my favourites.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zombo View Post
    The piano concertos are amongst my favourites.
    I like Piano concerto No. 3 the most, and generally I love his slow piano concerto movements. Among my other beloved works are Concerto for Orchestra, Miraculous Mandarine and Violin concerto No. 2...I don't know why, but short orchestral introduction of this concerto impressed me very much, it is very simple, but sooo magical, with harp ostinato and pizzicato strings. A had to listen to this introduction again and again. And it is fascinating how Bartók use this short motif in developement of the first movement. The second movement as variations on fragile, folk-like thema is also very beautiful.

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    Default Bartok the symphonist

    So much of what he wrote sounds like a symphony (think of the Concerto for Orchestra or the Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta) yet he hated using this title for some reason. Maybe he wanted to get away from the Germanic tradition. Whatever the reason notwithstanding this those works are definitely in the same league as Shostakovich's symphonies. Another great work is the Divertimento for Strings, a homage to the old classical form. He wasn't an iconoclast as some people think, he preferred to build upon rather than completely smash the traditions of classical music.

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    I love the gentle, life-enhancing qualities of the third piano concerto, and cannot reconcile this with the fact that he wrote it while he was dying.

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    I hadn't checked in on this thread (which I had started) in a while. Thanks for all the comments. Habib, I especially enjoyed your comments on traditions and word choice. And confuoco, I can't remember when or even if I had ever heard the second violin concerto, a real treasure. Zombo, I too cherish the piano concertos, and Lang, I did not know that sad fact about the third. That adds an extra dimension to it for me.

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    Yes, in point of fact he didn't quite complete it, and the last 10 bars or so were orchestrated by a pupil.

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    Concerto For Orchestra and Wooden Prince are by far the best pieces Bartok every wrote in my opinon.

    Wooden Prince by Pierre Boulez with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is the best version and Concerto For Orchestra was the best done by Fritz Reiner with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Just my two cents.

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    Senior Member Bach's Avatar
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    the best things Bartok ever wrote are his string quartets. Best quartets since Beethoven.
    Si vos agnosco is tunc vos es quoque erudio

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    Now, Bach, you give me a whole new Bartók field to explore. Thanks.

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    Oh, if you haven't heard them then prepare for a journey. They're very different to his orchestral music - far more intimate and intense but unique and among the greatest 20th century compositions.
    Si vos agnosco is tunc vos es quoque erudio

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bach View Post
    Oh, if you haven't heard them then prepare for a journey. They're very different to his orchestral music - far more intimate and intense but unique and among the greatest 20th century compositions.
    In his opinion, which that within itself, isn't saying much.

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    I've got credentials coming out of my bloody ears mate - my opinion is golden.

    Hope you enjoy the quartets, msegers!
    Si vos agnosco is tunc vos es quoque erudio

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bach View Post
    the best things Bartok ever wrote are his string quartets. Best quartets since Beethoven.

    I agree with this! His quartets are great. I love the first and the second one; and I've heard Végh Quartet is the best option to get, although I have them by the Juilliard Quartet that also sounds splendid.

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    I just got the Decca 2 cd set of Ansermet conducting Bartok with the Suisse Romande & it is superb. Still sounds good, despite the fact that it was recorded in the 1950s. I mean the SR are by no means as polished as other orchestras might be, but Ansermet brings out of them playing which is very committed and gutsy. I have listened to a number of versions of the Concerto for Orchestra, and this is the best version I have heard. A raw, mysteriouis and turbulent reading. Another highlight is the Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta. Ansermet speeds it up, so it is very compelling.

    These recordings are a surprise, as Ansermet is better known for his Debussy, Ravel and Stravinsky interpretations. I recommend it to anyone and it's also a good introduction to Bartok's music, with the above two works as well as the Dance Suite, Two Portraits, Romanian Folk Dances and Piano Concerto No. 3 (with Julius Katchen). It is also at budget price, so very affordable.

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