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Béla Bartók

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Béla Viktor János Bartók (Nagyszentmiklós25 March 1881 - New York26 september 1945) was a Hungarian composer and pianist. Bartók is widely considered to be one of the most important composers of the twentieth century. Through his meticulous transcriptions of Eastern European folk music in cooperation with Zoltán Kodály and was one of the founders of ethnomusicology.


[hide]*1 Biography


Bartók Béla was born in Nagyszentmiklós, now Sânnicolau Mare, in Romania. At an early age, he demonstrated his musical talent. On his ninth he wrote his first – small – compositions for piano, most short dance. His mother encouraged his musical development and was even willing to move, to ensure that her son les could get the best teachers.

Bartók studied piano at the Conservatory of presburg (now: Bratislava) and taught himself to read by composing scores. Later he studied at the Liszt Academy inBudapest, including Hans von Koessler. After graduate, Bartók was concert pianist and Professor of piano in 1907 to the previously mentioned Music Academy. In his early works he stood strongly under the influence of works of Hector BerliozFranz Liszt and Richard Strauss, composers whom he greatly admired.

In 1917 Bartók had, after initial setbacks, his first success with the performance of his ballet the wooden Prince. The piece was initially rejected by the fixed Hungarian conductors of the Budapest Opera, but an Italian guest conductor, Egisto Tango, dared to. During rehearsals, there was much resistance to the music at the performers: they found the ' unplayable ', but the execution was a great success. A year later he had a similar success with the opera Duke Bluebeard's Castle. Then he quickly got international fame and made many concert tours throughout Europe and America.Also in the Netherlands, his work was frequently carried out from the beginning of the 1920s.

From 1933 Germany was in Bartók's music as "a private scholar" (corrupt) and performances of his work were banned. The political developments in Europe in the 1930s brought Bartók to emigrate to America in 1940, eventually. However, he never really can. Bartók's music In the United States was not appreciated and to the transfer of royalties from Europe came to an end, so that the composer had great difficulty in his living. Bartók transcribed from March 1941 for the Columbia University some time Serbo-Croatian folk songs.

The United States nevertheless Bartók wrote in one of his most popular works, the Concerto for Orchestra. Commissioned by Yehudi Menuhin , he wrote a Sonata for solo violin (1944). Bartók died of leukemia in september 1945. The collecting society ASCAP paid the hospital costs and the memorial service. His last work, the Viola Concerto (1945), he did not complete. Of this work are only the full party for the Viola and some clues for the instrumentation. It is now usually performed as Bartók's pupil Tibor Serly it has "filled out" according to his notes. Of the Third piano concerto completed Serly the orchestration of the last 17 sizes.

Bartók's music was during the life of the composer only in small circle appreciated. The public regarded his music as atonal and dissonant. Almost immediately after the death of Bartók arose however, stimulated by the success of the Concerto for Orchestra and the promotion of Bartók's violin works by Yehudi Menuhin, a great interest in his works. Bartók became in short time a world famous composer. The Third Piano Concerto (1945), the Music for strings, percussion and Celesta (1937), the Divertimento for string orchestra (1939), the Second Violin Concerto (1939), the ballet-pantomime the miraculous Mandarin (1918/1919), the six string quartets and last but not least its piano Mikrokosmos learning series (153 short pieces, born between 1926 and 1939) are now classical and are frequently performed.

In 1988, the mortal remains of Bartók transferred to Farkasreti cemetery to Hungary and buried on the Budapest.


General characteristics[Edit]Edit

In many of Bartók's music is its affinity with the folk music of the Pannonian plain can be found both in the melodies as – to a greater extent – in the rhythm. But the largest influence gold the harmony. So the lack of usual triads in the pentatonic scales in the old Hungarian folk music to harmonisation based on quarters and to assessment of the small seventh as consonant and led melodies based on modal keys to the enrichment of the usual scales of seven tones with more notes to Bartók's own path to the twelve-tone scale, namely on the basis of the juxtaposition of all notes in the major, the Phrygian and Lydian scales.

Other not so very defining but typical characteristics of Bartók's music are the following.

  • Many pieces are based on one small theme. The entire composition consists of an organic development and processing of these. Bartók called this technique thematic extension of the range and saw this as an extension to the fugal techniques as inversion and magnification.
  • Most of the compositions lack recommended extensive codas. many compositions as in many folk music end with a final presentation of the main theme.
  • Compositions often consist of multiple lines which can greatly differ in timbre, tonality and rhythm. It seems sometimes as if the different instruments or voices an independent. The core of the expressiveness of composition as recommended n is, however, right out of the musical effects of the harmony of the many per piece often quite simple rhythmic or melodic lines. This practice led to polyrhythms and polytonality.However, as the sheet music shows one line is the most important and determines size and key.

Youth: late-romantic style (1890-1902)[Edit]Edit

The works of his youth are composed in a late romantic style. Between 1890 and 1894 (his ninth until his thirteenth birthday) he wrote 31 pieces with corresponding opus numbers. He started numbering his works again with opus 1 in 1894 with his first larger work, a piano Sonata. To 1902, Bartók wrote a total of 74 working in a late-romantic style. Most of these are written for solo piano or at least contain the piano as an instrument for guidance. In addition, there are some Chamber Music compositions for string instruments. Compared to his later achievements these works not by its own style.

New influences (1903–1911)[Edit]Edit

Under the influence of Richard Strauss (among other things of his Also sprach Zarathustra), Bartók composed in 1903 Kossuth, a symphonic poem in ten Tableaux. In 1904 followed his Rhapsody for piano and Orchestra which he numbered opus 1 again. Thus he gave was that this is the beginning of a new episode in his work. A more important event of this year was that the 18-year-old nanny Lidi Dósa he happens to be from Transylvania sing folk tunes heard. This was the beginning of his lifelong dedication to the ethnomusicology. In Bartók's views, a composer on three wise men folk music in his compositions. The first option is to get a original folk melody unchanged and on music to put, in which the composer add harmonisation and guidance. He compared this work with putting a gemstone; a gemstone is also not by the jeweler homemade.Criticism that he parried not own melodies Bartók, composed by stating that Molière and Shakespeare also based their plays on well-known stories. The second option is for a composer to compose in the style of folk music and to compose everything myself, including the melodies. The third and final option is to traditional classical music to compose, for which elements of folk music a sublimated inspiration, for example the rhythm or the use of modal keys.

Bartók Debussys learned music in 1907 and admired his music very much. Debussy's influence is identifiable in the fourteen Bagatelles (1908) that the pianist Wilhelm Backhaus cried out ' finally something real news! ' Until 1911, Bartók composed in romantic style, both very different work as operations of folk music and finally pronounced modernist opera Bluebeard's Castle. The negative reception of his work led to him after this period devoted to piano lessons and ethnomusicological research. On adaptations of folk music after he stopped composing.

New inspiration and experimentation (1916–1921)[Edit]Edit

Bartók's negative attitude towards composing disappeared thanks to the stormy and inspiring contact with Klára Gombossy in the summer of 1915. There broke again a fertile period, of which the Suite for piano opus 14 (1916) and the (only for the first time in 1926 souped-up) ballet the miraculous Mandarin (1918) witnesses; He also completed the ballet the wooden Prince (1917).

Bartók experienced the result of the first world war as a personal tragedy. Many areas where he strongly endorsed were deprived of Hungary: Transylvania, the Banat where he was born and Pozsony where his mother lived and would remain until her death in 1939. Furthermore, made the hostile attitude of the successor States of the Danube monarchy he hard to ethnomusicological research. Thrown back on himself he experimented with ever greater compositional techniques. His compositions do not contain clear melodies and tend toward atonality. The music of Bartók, however, is never really atonal. The composer regarded atonality as creatures foreign to folk music. However, In a number of works atonality closely approximated, as in the third string quartet (1927) and the First and Second Violin Sonata (1921). With the Eight improvisations on Hungarian peasant songs (1920), the Second Sonata for violin and Piano (1922) and the sunny Dance suite (1923, the year of his second marriage), we have already listed between 1919 and 1925 all Bartók's work.

Ripe period (1926-1945)[Edit]Edit

Bartók In 1926 had a great piece for piano and Orchestra on tour in Europe and America that he could play. As warming up for his first piano concerto he wrote his piano Sonata, In the Open air and nine little pieces, all for solo piano. In all these pieces, including the first piano concerto, the piano is a percussion instrumentfor Bartók. This approach found its culmination in the Sonata for two pianos and percussion. Bartók Later said that his compositions around this ' piano year ' of a Beethoven-like to a Bach-like aesthetics shifted. He began to find the idiom of his mature phase. In the works from about 1934 is a complete fusion of European art music and folk music of the Pannonian plain. The compositions are from mid-thirties melodischer, less dissonant and less rhythmically complex. Bartók's mature style is difficult to define let alone under one umbrella. It is, like Stravinskys music, typified by a synthesis of many influences: Bach and even older music, classicism, volksmusiek, music as sound (an influence of modernists as Debussy) and even the romance. In Bartók's mature period he wrote relatively few works but most are large-scale compositions for large forces. His late works are often in classical forms and only the vocal works have programmatic titles.


Of particular interest are the six string quartets, which are among the musical highlights of the twentieth century and reflect the development of the composer. The first Quartet is still fairly traditional. In the Second String Quartet is already audible influence of folk music. The Third Quartet (1927) and Fourth Quartet (1929) are the high points in the series. In these quartets are applied dissonances, exotic rhythms, taken from the Balkan music, and new playing techniques such as glissando for all instruments, the use of quarter tones and the well-known Bartókpizzicato. Of the six string quartets are many CD recordings. The most famous and widely appreciated is that of the Emerson Quartet.

As far as Bartók's ripe period are some much played works the Cantata Profana (1930, Bartók's favourite own work), Music for strings, percussion and Celesta (1936), the Concerto for Orchestra (1943) and theThird Piano Concerto (1945).

Format of Bartók's work[Edit]Edit

Different authors made a catalogue of Bartók's work. The first and most employed classification of his compositions was created by András Szöllősy. This is a chronological format from 1 to 121 with the acronym Sz.Denijs Dille provided for the work of Bartók with a thematic format with DD numbering from 1 to 77. The latest cataloguing is the work of László Somfai and is also chronological in nature. The works have a BB-numbering from 1 to 129 with corrections based on the Béla Bartók Thematic Catalogue. A complete list of the works of Bartók is included in the article list of compositions by Béla Bartók .

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