Six Romanian Folk Dances

Composer: Béla Bartók (b. 1881 - d. 1945)
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Composer: Béla Bartók (b. 1881 - d. 1945)

Performance date: 01/07/2024

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Duration: 00:05:25

Recording Engineer: Tom Norton, RTÉ

Instrumentation: vn, pf

Instrumentation Category:Duo

Artists: Viviane Hagner - [violin]
Lilit Grigoryan - [Piano]

Six Romanian Folk Dances [arr. Zoltán Szekely]

Bartók’s role in re-discovering the folk music of Eastern Europe is well-known. Before he met Zoltán Kodály he had been only vaguely aware of the wealth of music in the Hungarian mountains, but his trips with his new friend soon opened his ears. He had become scathing of the so-called Hungarian Dances by Brahms and Liszt realizing they were based on second-hand café music totally detached from the originals. 

In order to prove this the two enthusiastic researchers set out to discover and record true Hungarian folk music. Between them they collected and analysed thousands of folk tunes and dances during their travels from the Carpathians to the Black Sea. They set down and recorded the authentic musical identity of the people in a systematic and extremely precise way. Finally Bartók published all of the melodies and dances in a series of twelve volumes. As importantly he himself went on to develop his own musical language a long way from the Romanticism he had flirted with in his early compositions.

The Romanian Folk Dances as played here are arrangements by Szekely from Bartók’s collection. They are very short whimsical melodies combined with asymmetrical rhythms and exotic soundscapes. The unusual harmonies, rough textures and diversified tempi ensure their authenticity. The six Dances are played without a break.

Francis Humphrys