C/D: Bela Bartok

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I know, I know... he's a genius and a gentleman and could bench-press a horse. But what the hell am I listening to? I have a disc with four of his late string quartets (which the booklet claims as "some of the best ever composed"), but I can't figure them out. Anyone?

Sam Song, Tuesday, 26 April 2005 20:38 (sixteen years ago) link

Try some of the earlier string quartets; you'll find them more accessible and maybe even a key to understanding the later ones. I believe he wrote them so that they get progressively more challenging to listen to as they go up in number. Also the Concierto for Orchestra is wonderful.

Hurting (Hurting), Tuesday, 26 April 2005 20:53 (sixteen years ago) link

great stage name

peepee (peepee), Tuesday, 26 April 2005 21:02 (sixteen years ago) link

when i was 10 and went to music school i played a lot of bartok because he sounded oh so crazy. the teachers were wondering.
only schnitke is crazier, i think now. maybe try schnitke, too! ha!

nique (nique), Tuesday, 26 April 2005 21:43 (sixteen years ago) link

his last (3rd) piano concerto is excellent. so is the music for strings, percussion and celesta

lemin (lemin), Tuesday, 26 April 2005 21:49 (sixteen years ago) link

He was great for my piano lessons as a kid, but I wouldn't know where to start buying-wise.

Pete Scholtes, Wednesday, 27 April 2005 01:20 (sixteen years ago) link

Try this, it's a good one:

http://www.derekerdman.com/ilovemilkshakes/april2005/misc/bartok.mp3

I think it's some Romanian folk dances.

Derek Erdman (Donkey King), Wednesday, 27 April 2005 16:28 (sixteen years ago) link

So the quartets in question are too obscure for the laiety? I suppose I could trade the disc I have for something earlier, but I'm curious what those among you who love his music love about it. It sounds to me like broken teeth or falling down stairs.

Sam Song, Wednesday, 27 April 2005 19:38 (sixteen years ago) link

The string quartets are great. They grabbed my attention more instantly than anything else of his, and I've ended up with two recordings. But they do indeed vary a bit in tone, so trying the first two is also recommended. You've prompted me to put on the fifth now, and its tense jerkiness is hitting the spot. Also, the praise for Concerto for Orchestra and Music for... seconded!

Nag! Nag! Nag! (Nag! Nag! Nag!), Wednesday, 27 April 2005 22:49 (sixteen years ago) link

three months pass...
Revive.

Rockist_Scientist (RSLaRue), Saturday, 13 August 2005 14:05 (fifteen years ago) link

best revivals ever

petesmith (plsmith), Saturday, 13 August 2005 14:07 (fifteen years ago) link

I feel a little cheap, actually. (Remarkably little on the Bartok thread. I wonder if there is another one.)

Rockist_Scientist (RSLaRue), Saturday, 13 August 2005 14:10 (fifteen years ago) link

yes, the string quartets are unfuckwithable. particularly when performed by the takacs quartet.

search also: concerto for orchestra, violin concerto no. 2, sonata for solo violin, music for strings, percussion & celesta, piano concertos, sonatas for violin & piano, sonata for 2 pianos & 2 percussion.

i guess bartok's always been one of my favorite composers and i can't think of much to dislike. the quartets are easy to understand once listened to progressively. the first starts off in late romantic mode, which is accessible enough. and in any case, bartok never abandoned tonality and coherence, which is his greatest strength. he's just gnarly as fuck--i suppose if you've got a problem with that quality there's no hope, but otherwise, keep on listening.

you will be shot (you will be shot), Saturday, 13 August 2005 14:59 (fifteen years ago) link

and yes, i think marissa should be commissioned to complete bartok's 7th quartet, even if it was just barely sketched out.

you will be shot (you will be shot), Saturday, 13 August 2005 15:00 (fifteen years ago) link

one month passes...
I will never tire of the 4th string quartet.

Dominique (dleone), Friday, 16 September 2005 00:46 (fifteen years ago) link

OMG, dom, my prof has just been having me listen to that in the past week. It's stunning, it really is.

Sundar (sundar), Friday, 16 September 2005 01:07 (fifteen years ago) link

I've had the six quartets since I was fourteen; I know them inside out but have never got to love them. I feel the same about a lot of Bartok, but I love Bluebeard's Castle. As quartets go, I much prefer Janacek's. I love all Martinu's chamber music, too. Maybe I just prefer Czechs to Hungarians.

I've had a rocky ride getting into twentieth century music; other classics I've never got to grips with are Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire, Berg's Wozzek . . . on the other hand, I can't get enough Berio, Messaien, Takemitsu. If you don't like Bartok's quartets, don't force yourself; it may be to do with sensibility.

All Bunged Up (Jake Proudlock), Friday, 16 September 2005 12:50 (fifteen years ago) link

He has inspired table-top tappers the world over.

mark grout (mark grout), Friday, 16 September 2005 12:56 (fifteen years ago) link

I've just remembered another piece by Bartok that I really love: "Contrasts", which he wrote for Benny Goodman. Benny Goodman's recording, with Joseph Zigeti (sp?), is sensational. You'll do more than tap the table to that.

All Bunged Up (Jake Proudlock), Friday, 16 September 2005 12:59 (fifteen years ago) link

Has anyone read Malcolm Gillies _The Bartok Companion_? I saw it in the library the other day and was thinking of getting it but it looked too, well, thick to deal with. (Although he did use lots of actual musical examples, which I always like.) I'm not as familiar with Bartok as I want to be, but I'm figuring this would help. Still, if it's a turd, I'd rather not be smelling it for several weeks, if you know what I mean. Anyone?

Eppy (Eppy), Friday, 16 September 2005 13:45 (fifteen years ago) link

Oh, and also, I consider his string quartets the best music ever written, so.

Eppy (Eppy), Friday, 16 September 2005 13:46 (fifteen years ago) link

nine months pass...
I bought a 5-disc set of his piano music, and am listening while reading about physics. In my mind, Bartok, Schoenberg, Webern -- all of this goes like milk with cereal with quantum physics. It's the perfect soundtrack.

Dominique (dleone), Thursday, 6 July 2006 13:22 (fourteen years ago) link

I didn't know milk with cereal went with quantum physics.

Abbadavid Berman (Hurting), Thursday, 6 July 2006 13:36 (fourteen years ago) link

actually, they unified them into one elegant breakfast force

Dominique (dleone), Thursday, 6 July 2006 13:42 (fourteen years ago) link

nine months pass...
What is the record Derek is streaming upthread?

baaderonixx, Monday, 23 April 2007 10:24 (fourteen years ago) link

'For Children' maybe?

baaderonixx, Monday, 23 April 2007 10:28 (fourteen years ago) link

five years pass...

I love music, which is why I'm wishing Bela Bartok a happy birthday

Dominique, Monday, 25 March 2013 22:23 (eight years ago) link

eight years pass...

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/E3IT0TVWEAAfnxU?format=jpg&name=medium

this is a sensational recording. I doubt there will be a better one than this.

calzino, Saturday, 5 June 2021 18:42 (two weeks ago) link

🖼

this is a sensational recording. I doubt there will be a better one than this.


Yes! My favorites too.

Van Halen dot Senate dot flashlight (Boring, Maryland), Saturday, 5 June 2021 19:12 (two weeks ago) link

It's a good 'un but Kocsis/Fischer with the Budapest Festival Orchestra takes the cake for me. Simultaneously more modernist and more Hungarian.

pomenitul, Saturday, 5 June 2021 19:59 (two weeks ago) link

thanks for the recc, pom.

calzino, Saturday, 5 June 2021 20:09 (two weeks ago) link

but I'd still beg to differ with merely "a good 'un" it's much better than that!

calzino, Saturday, 5 June 2021 20:12 (two weeks ago) link

Fair, fair, I'm just a huge Zoltán Kocsis stan and his Bartók matches my layman's understanding of his music, so I tend to get carried away sometimes. I'm also liable to say things like: the Takács Quartet's 1996 recording of the string quartets is second to none and you should accept no substitute! Anyway, I'll revisit the Anda/Fricsay – it's been too long.

pomenitul, Saturday, 5 June 2021 20:27 (two weeks ago) link

Fair, fair, I'm just a huge Zoltán Kocsis stan and his Bartók matches my layman's understanding of his music, so I tend to get carried away sometimes. I'm also liable to say things like: the Takács Quartet's 1996 recording of the string quartets is second to none and you should accept no substitute! Anyway, I'll revisit the Anda/Fricsay – it's been too long.


Kocsis is my man for the solo piano work. The Takacs quartets didn’t bowl me over. I Stan the original Julliard Quartet mono records.

Van Halen dot Senate dot flashlight (Boring, Maryland), Saturday, 5 June 2021 23:23 (two weeks ago) link

TS: Cats named after Bela Bartok vs cats named after Blixa Bargeld (1)(2)

Fauna Sukkot (Deflatormouse), Sunday, 6 June 2021 06:28 (two weeks ago) link

The fanous white collar criminal Martha Stewart also had a cat named after Bela Bartok

https://www.themarthablog.com/2016/01/farewell-to-bartok-the-cat.html

Fauna Sukkot (Deflatormouse), Monday, 7 June 2021 00:08 (two weeks ago) link


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