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Romanian Folk Dances

Béla Bartók (b. 1881 - d. 1945)

Catherine Leonard (photo credit: Colm Hogan)

Catherine Leonard (photo credit: Colm Hogan)

Composer
Béla Bartók (b. 1881 - d. 1945)
Composition Year
1915
Work Movements
1. Staff-Dance
2. Sash-Dance
3. In One Spot-Dance
4. Hornpipe
5. Romanian Polka
6. Precipitando Dance
Artists
Ji Hye Jung [marimba], Catherine Leonard [violin]

Programme Note Writer:
© Francis Humphrys

These six short electrifying pieces were originally composed for solo piano before their dual transformation for this evening’s performance. In the years from 1905 to 1914, Bartók and his friend Kodály collected and notated more than 6,000 folk tunes in their quest to preserve the vanishing musical heritage of the Balkan highlands. Most of the Romanian Folk Dances originated in Transylvania, which was part of Hungary in 1915 but became part of Romania in the postwar settlement, forcing Bartók to change the work’s title from Romanian Folk Dances in Hungary to its present one. In fact Bartók got into a lot of trouble with the Hungarian nationalists for his folk music researches, which clearly indicated the multi-ethnic nature of much of the Hungarian hinterland.

Unlike much of Bartók’s music where he re-creates an imaginary folk music, the Romanian Folk Dances are his re-workings of folk tunes he had collected. The importance of these pieces is the comparison with the so-called folk tunes from composers like Brahms and Dvorák, who sourced their faux folk music from gypsy fiddlers rather than the real thing. Bartók succeeds brilliantly in rescuing the unpredictability, the harshness and the freshness of the original.

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Romanian Folk Dances

Composer: Béla Bartók (b. 1881 - d. 1945)
Performance date: Tuesday 3rd July 2012
Venue: St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland

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Composer Béla Bartók (b. 1881 - d. 1945)
Arranger Ji Hye Jung
Work Title Romanian Folk Dances
Composition Year 1915
Work Movements 1. Staff-Dance
2. Sash-Dance
3. In One Spot-Dance
4. Hornpipe
5. Romanian Polka
6. Precipitando Dance
Artist(s) Ji Hye Jung [marimba], Catherine Leonard [violin]
Performance Date Tuesday 3rd July 2012
Performance Venue St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland
Event Main Evening Concert
Duration 00:06:26
Recording Engineer Anton Timoney, RTÉ lyric fm
Instrumentation Category Duo
Instrumentation vn, mar
Programme Note Writer © Francis Humphrys

These six short electrifying pieces were originally composed for solo piano before their dual transformation for this evening’s performance. In the years from 1905 to 1914, Bartók and his friend Kodály collected and notated more than 6,000 folk tunes in their quest to preserve the vanishing musical heritage of the Balkan highlands. Most of the Romanian Folk Dances originated in Transylvania, which was part of Hungary in 1915 but became part of Romania in the postwar settlement, forcing Bartók to change the work’s title from Romanian Folk Dances in Hungary to its present one. In fact Bartók got into a lot of trouble with the Hungarian nationalists for his folk music researches, which clearly indicated the multi-ethnic nature of much of the Hungarian hinterland.

Unlike much of Bartók’s music where he re-creates an imaginary folk music, the Romanian Folk Dances are his re-workings of folk tunes he had collected. The importance of these pieces is the comparison with the so-called folk tunes from composers like Brahms and Dvorák, who sourced their faux folk music from gypsy fiddlers rather than the real thing. Bartók succeeds brilliantly in rescuing the unpredictability, the harshness and the freshness of the original.