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 Post subject: Bartok - Mikrokosmos Book 6
PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 1:45 pm 
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Next step towards completing the Mikrokosmos. Yay, only 4 more items to go.
From the Diary of a Fly is one of the funniest pieces I know. I love the directive 'molto agitato and lamentoso' which you're not likely to find anywhere else.

Bartok - Sz.107 - Mikrokosmos - Book 6 - 140: Free Variations (1:54)
Bartok - Sz.107 - Mikrokosmos - Book 6 - 141: Subject and Reflection (1:39)
Bartok - Sz.107 - Mikrokosmos - Book 6 - 142: From the Diary of a Fly (1:22)
Bartok - Sz.107 - Mikrokosmos - Book 6 - 143: Divided arpeggios (2:34)

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 Post subject: Re: Bartok - Mikrokosmos Book 6
PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:43 pm 
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to 140: bravo, Chris. That´s a very good rendition, very clear and convincing. I have played this piece, too, btw, it was in 1989, during a concert, in which I played also Bach´s chromatic fantasy and fugue and Beethovens sonata in f-major (the early one). The Bartok I have played at the end to bring something moderner in this concert.
to 141: also very good, bravo to the end (piu mosso).
to 142: that´s a very famous piece (I sometime analyze it at school with my pupils). You play it very well, but there could be less pedal at some places to bring out the staccato better. Also the sforzati in the "agitato"-part could have more force (the fly is caught in a cobweb here and it suffers very much, the sforzati are some attempts to free itself of the cobweb, and that should be very heavy attempts, because the poor fly is in fear of death). But these are only personal matters of taste, of course.
to 143: from bar 35-36 the arpeggios are rhythmically a bit shaky, apart from that a very good rendition.

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 Post subject: Re: Bartok - Mikrokosmos Book 6
PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 4:13 am 
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Hi Chris,

I'm cool to Bartok's piano music, but compliment you on your playing here. The "Free Variations" seem to require a keen rhythmic sense which you supply very well. There are a lot of asymmetrical figurations to master throughout these pieces, such that I would not want to have to memorize them! I didn't know quite what to expect "From the Diary of a Fly"--maybe a kind of "Flight of the Bumble Bee"? No, very different indeed. Bartok cleverly creates much tension depicting the fly's fear and struggle while in the spider's web. I was braced for a loud, staccato tone cluster at the end representing the "whap" of a fly swatter, which never came, as the fly obviously got away to add this page in his diary. I liked the last piece too, "Divided Arpeggios", which surprisingly seems to give a nod to Debussy at times. Fine playing in all these pieces, Chris.

When I was a kid Bartok's music was dissonant, harsh and even barbaric. Decades later it actually sounds tame now. With all that's transpired in modern music, it does seem as if Bartok has become our Mozart from the 20th Century.

You're nearing completion of these pieces. I admire your perseverance!

David

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 Post subject: Re: Bartok - Mikrokosmos Book 6
PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 8:34 am 
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Thanks for the feedback Andres and David. Sure there could be less pedal yet. I am not entirely happy with the 'fly' either, and should actually have done a couple more takes of the 'arpeggios'.

Some of Bartok is still harsh and dissonant to me. There are certain pieces which I am not sure I will ever really like. But he is a composer with many faces. For those seeking acquaintance with Bartok, no better place to start than the 3rd piano concerto, a wonderfully wise and luminous work.

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 Post subject: Re: Bartok - Mikrokosmos Book 6
PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 8:43 pm 
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Yes, the Third Piano Concerto of Bartok is lovely. He wrote it for his wife, as I recall, as he had a terminal illness and wanted her to have exclusive performance rights (she was a fine pianist) in order to ensure an on-going income for herself. As I recall, Bartok also wrote a Concerto for Viola and Orchestra which is also a very nice listening experience. The Concerto for Orchestra has long been a favorite of mine--an extraordinary piece of music. I recall as a kid listening to the Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 and thinking that this was music emanating from a factory, but these days I actually enjoy hearing them. Once the ears become "stretched", it's amazing how certain music is better tolerated, or even grows on one. Now I just have to feel more positive about Bartok's piano solo literature.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Bartok - Mikrokosmos Book 6
PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 9:57 pm 
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Rachfan wrote:
As I recall, Bartok also wrote a Concerto for Viola and Orchestra which is also a very nice listening experience.

Yes, the one completed by Tibor Serly. I have not heard it for ages but remember liking it a lot. I think it dates from his last years too. Like Beethoven and may other composers, Bartok reached sublime heights in his final, troubled, years.

Rachfan wrote:
The Concerto for Orchestra has long been a favorite of mine--an extraordinary piece of music.

Definitely, desert-island stuff. Maybe the best orchestral piece ever produced in the last century although there are many candidates for that title.

Rachfan wrote:
I recall as a kid listening to the Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 and thinking that this was music emanating from a factory, but these days I actually enjoy hearing them. Once the ears become "stretched", it's amazing how certain music is better tolerated, or even grows on one.

Yes it grows on you indeed ! Not to plug, but most or all of the Bartok I recorded for PS is very accessible.

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