Program Note

Béla Bartók’s Third String Quartet was written in 1926, when the composer was in his mid-forties.  At this point in his life, he was internationally recognized, not just as an important composer but also as one of the earliest serious ethnomusicologists: he collected and catalogued folk music from several Eastern European countries, and even ranged as far as North Africa in his research.  To Bartók’s thinking, folk music was of more than scientific interest; it was the life-giving seed without which there was no way forward in musical creation.

more »


Project

Stylistic progression over an artistic lifetime is often a complex, even convoluted journey, a refashioning of texture, rhetoric and form to suit the expressive concerns of a personal historical moment.

more »


Program Note

[Bartok] composed his Fourth Quartet in 1928. Considered by many to be among his very greatest compositions, it represents in some sense an extreme case. Taut, economical, almost geometrical in its arguments, it is music that wastes not a single note, and thus conveys a kind of athletic exuberance.

more »


Program Note

For the young Béla Bartók, the period of 1906-1909 marked a time of enormous change, experimentation and turmoil.

more »


Program Note

Béla Bartók produced what was to be his final string quartet, his sixth. It is a curious and powerful work, seemingly two distinct quartets amalgamated into one: a poignant lament which reveals its full dimensionality in stages as the piece progresses, and, sandwiched between occurences of the lament, a more conventional set of tripartite movements, ranging in character from playful to bitterly sarcastic.

more »


Program Note

Bartok’s work as an ethnomusicologist became extremely important to him, and he spent much time traveling from village to village living among the native people and recording their singing on the then new and revolutionary Edison wax cylinder.

more »