The string quartets of Béla Bartók: A húr a fogólapra csattan
March 6, 2007 2:28 AM   Subscribe

The six string quartets of Béla Bartók: A guide for performers and listeners, by the Emerson Quartet...
posted by Wolfdog (19 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
... and if folk music is more your metier, here is a database of about 13,000 scans of his scrupulously notated folksongs from Eastern Europe and Turkey. (Just pick any series from the drop-downs.)
posted by Wolfdog at 2:30 AM on March 6, 2007

Fascinating, thanks for the find! The Bartok quartets are my favorite single body of 20th century work. (Word chosen with care; for me they outrank not just other music but all the other creative efforts of the period, anything by Picasso, Gropius, Joyce, Eliot, anybody.)
posted by jfuller at 2:59 AM on March 6, 2007

great, thanks.
posted by johnny novak at 3:01 AM on March 6, 2007

Complicated stuff, this. Thanks.
posted by four panels at 6:16 AM on March 6, 2007

[Ez jó.] Thanks!
posted by languagehat at 6:37 AM on March 6, 2007

I agree, jfuller, with the exception Bartók's own violin duets, Ives' The Unanswered Question and Dreyer's La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc.
posted by breezeway at 6:48 AM on March 6, 2007

Here's who I think of when you say "Béla".
posted by LordSludge at 6:54 AM on March 6, 2007

Thanks! A great find! I think that the best thing I can say about the Bartok quartets is that for me it's impossible to even hear the words 'string quartet' without thinking of Bartok.
posted by ob at 7:12 AM on March 6, 2007

Wolfdog, you rule the world today! Thanks for this post.

(To add to the Bartok love: how about that Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celeste?)
posted by LooseFilter at 10:04 AM on March 6, 2007

Thank you Wolfdog! I adore Bartók. This post made my morning.
posted by LeeJay at 11:13 AM on March 6, 2007

Thanks Wolfdog, this is insightful and illuminating. I love the Emersons (particularly their Shostakovich quartets set), but my favorite interpretation of Bartók's quartets has to be the Takács Quartet set from '98.
posted by joseph_elmhurst at 11:25 AM on March 6, 2007

Now I can't wait for 5:00.

I have sound at work but, you know, I have to work.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:01 PM on March 6, 2007

Ah, for me the definitive recorded performance is by the Tatrai Quartet ( Yes, we all feel sentimental about our first time, and for me it was their performance of Bartok's 6th quartet, on a scratchy LP in a college music class, which actually made my eyes start leaking...
posted by twsf at 12:25 PM on March 6, 2007

Amazing coincidence. Just yesterday I decided to read the liner notes on my Emerson CD of Haydn quartets. It talked about the Bartok recordings, so I just went online and ordered them. Yesterday. Freaky.

While we're on the subject of SQs, let me recommend Beethoven Opus 59 No 1 in F and Shostakovich #15.
posted by neuron at 12:37 PM on March 6, 2007


posted by Substrata at 1:03 PM on March 6, 2007

I saw the Takacs Quartet play a concert of all six Bartok quartets once. It ruled. There was an hour-long intermission so you could go eat dinner.
posted by speicus at 4:20 PM on March 6, 2007

> Ah, for me the definitive recorded performance is by the Tatrai Quartet

Excellent version, I also have it on LP (Hungaroton LPX 1294, 95, 96) and it's my second favorite, slightly shaded by the Hungarian quartet (DGG SLPM 138650, 51, 52.) Both groups play in an appropriately mittel-European manner (contrasting with the razor-sharp and withal very American Juilliard set which was the chief competition when these LPs were new.) The Hungarian gets a slight nod because their cellist is Gabriel Magyar. I can't imagine a better name for a Bartok player.
posted by jfuller at 4:27 PM on March 6, 2007

The folksongs link is awesome. Thanks!
posted by honeydew at 5:26 PM on March 6, 2007

Concerto for Orchestra is my baby.
posted by semmi at 11:46 PM on March 6, 2007

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