17 Posts
On This Day
25 March: Béla Bartók Was Born
It is somewhat ironic that not a single Hungarian town in which Béla Bartók spent his youth is now within Hungarian boundaries. At the time of his birth on 25 March 1881, the town of Nagyszentmiklós was part of the
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Who’s Afraid of Béla Bartók?
One of my favorite pieces to perform is Hungarian composer Béla Bartók’s Romanian Folk Dances. It is full of infectious rhythms, melancholy melodies, and subtle effects. János Starker performs it in the cello rendition.
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Bartók and Nature
Béla Bartók’s first ballet, The Wooden Prince (1916) takes us to the story land of princes and princesses, and, of course, evil fairies. But, to get it on stage, Bartók had to contend first with the evil management of the
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Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra
Premiered Today in 1944
Béla Bartók (1881-1945) spent the last five years of his life in the United States. Economic hardship, cultural dislocation, and very little artistic acknowledgement and satisfaction plunged the composer into a state of bitter depression. This depression was compounded by
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Bartók: Duke Bluebeard’s Castle
Premiered Today in 1918
With Europe spiraling towards a massive war that would eventually devastate the continent, Béla Bartók gave voice to the general sense of anxiety and foreboding by starting work on his only opera in 1911. The libretto for the one-act Duke
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A Prophetic Cantata: Bartók’s Cantata Profana
We are most familiar with a ‘cantata’ as a sacred work, usually on a subject from the Bible, that’s written for vocalists. For Béla Bartók to write a work entitled ‘Cantata Profana’ is to write an oxymoron. Yet, if we
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Playing in Pairs: Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra
Béla Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra challenges the educated listener on several fronts, starting with the title itself. A concerto is a work for soloist and orchestra (or, perhaps, soloist versus orchestra!). What are we to think of a work where
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In the Service of Music
Béla Bartók and Ditta Pásztory
Béla Bartók had always been interested in young girls. His first wife Márta was only sixteen when they married, and he did have an extramarital affair with the fifteen-year-old poetess Klára. Bartók also vigorously but unsuccessfully pursued the young violinist
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