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Bartók: Mikrokosmos (Complete) / Jenö Jandó


Release Date: 08/29/2006 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8557821-22   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Béla Bartók
Performer:  Jénö JandóBalázs SzokolayTamara Takács
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 28 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Bartók: Mikrokosmos. Jénö Jandó, piano. Ibolya Tóth, producer; János Bohus, engineer. Naxos 8.557821-22 [2 CDs].

For years, Jénö Jandó has been the house pianist at Naxos. He’s done cycles of Mozart, Beethoven, and Liszt along with a variety of other fare, much of it excellent, all of it respectable. His portfolio already includes a handful of discs devoted to the music of his countryman Béla Bartók; here he turns to what is certainly the most familiar of Bartók’s solo piano works, the six books of progressive piano pieces known as Mikrokosmos. Anyone who has studied piano during the past 60 years has encountered this compendium, and learned to
Read more either love it or hate it. The 153 pieces, a 20th-century Gradus ad Parnassum, begin with simple unison exercises and ascend through various technical difficulties – involving intervals, chords, ostinatos, syncopations, contrary motion, modal scales, and assorted rhythmic and metric complications – to fully realized virtuosity in the closing pieces of Book VI. Yet already by the concluding piece of Book I, “Free Canon,” you know this music could only be by Bartók and nobody else. And by the first piece in Book V, “Chords Together and in Opposition,” you know you’ve arrived at big-league Bartók – the way Jandó plays it here sends a thrill of admiration through the wrists of this writer, who would have loved to be able to dispatch it so dashingly.

Throughout this transit of Mikrokosmos, Jandó presents each exercise as a musical gesture, without wringing too much out of the notes or dryly going through the motions. Even in the simplest of the pieces in Book I, he attends carefully to the shaping of sound, while in the most challenging pieces from the later books, particularly the ones set in compound Bulgarian rhythms, he’s as steady as a spinning top. (If you think it’s only budding pianists who have to contend with the Bulgarian stuff, listen to the scherzo of Bartók’s String Quartet No. 5, and observe four adult string players struggling to keep from going off the rails.)

The recorded sound is as direct as the playing – a solid, pleasantly dry studio sound that makes no attempt at mimicking a recital hall ambience, and is exactly right for the music. Mezzo-soprano Tamara Takács provides the vocals for songs in Books II, III, and V, and pianist Balázs Szokolay does the honors as second pianist in the two-piano pieces sprinkled through the collection.

– Ted Libbey, author of The NPR Guide to Building a Classical CD Collection. Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Mikrokosmos, Sz 107: Book 1 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Jénö Jandó (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926-1939; Budapest, Hungary 
Venue:  Phoenix Studio, Budapest, Hungary 
Length: 23 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Notes: Phoenix Studio, Budapest, Hungary (02/07/2005 - 02/10/2005) 
2.
Mikrokosmos, Sz 107: Book 2 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Balázs Szokolay (Piano), Tamara Takács (Mezzo Soprano), Jénö Jandó (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926-1939; Budapest, Hungary 
Venue:  Phoenix Studio, Budapest, Hungary 
Length: 21 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Language: Hungarian 
Notes: Phoenix Studio, Budapest, Hungary (02/07/2005 - 02/10/2005) 
3.
Mikrokosmos, Sz 107: Book 3 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Balázs Szokolay (Piano), Tamara Takács (Mezzo Soprano), Jénö Jandó (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926-1939; Budapest, Hungary 
Venue:  Phoenix Studio, Budapest, Hungary 
Length: 27 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Language: Hungarian 
Notes: Phoenix Studio, Budapest, Hungary (02/07/2005 - 02/10/2005) 
4.
Mikrokosmos, Sz 107: Book 4 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Jénö Jandó (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926-1939; Budapest, Hungary 
Venue:  Phoenix Studio, Budapest, Hungary 
Length: 27 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Notes: Phoenix Studio, Budapest, Hungary (04/27/2005 - 04/30/2005) 
5.
Mikrokosmos, Sz 107: Book 5 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Jénö Jandó (Piano), Tamara Takács (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926-1939; Budapest, Hungary 
Venue:  Phoenix Studio, Budapest, Hungary 
Length: 20 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Language: Hungarian 
Notes: Phoenix Studio, Budapest, Hungary (04/27/2005 - 04/30/2005) 
6.
Mikrokosmos, Sz 107: Book 6 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Jénö Jandó (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926-1939; Budapest, Hungary 
Venue:  Phoenix Studio, Budapest, Hungary 
Length: 26 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Notes: Phoenix Studio, Budapest, Hungary (04/27/2005 - 04/30/2005) 
7.
Mikrokosmos, Sz 107 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Jénö Jandó (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926-1939; Budapest, Hungary 

Sound Samples

Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 1. 6 Unison Melodies I
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 2: 6 Unison Melodies II (versions A and B)
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 3. 6 Unison Melodies III
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 4. 6 Unison Melodies IV
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 5. 6 Unison Melodies V
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 6. 6 Unison Melodies VI
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 7. Dotted Notes
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 8. Repetition I
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 9. Syncopation I
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 10. With Alternate Hands
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 11. Parallel Motion
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 12. Reflection
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 13. Change of Position
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 14. Question and Answer
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 15. Village Song
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 16. Parallel Motion with Change of Position
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 17. Contrary Motion
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 18. 4 Unison Melodies I
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 19. 4 Unison Melodies II
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 20. 4 Unison Melodies III
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 21. 4 Unison Melodies IV
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 22. Imitation and Counterpoint
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 23. Imitation and Inversion I
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 24. Pastorale
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 25. Imitation and Inversion II
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 26. Repetition II
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 27. Syncopation II
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 28. Canon at the Octave
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 29. Imitation Reflected
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 30. Canon at the Lower Fifth
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 31. Dance in Canon Form
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 32. In Dorian Mode
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 33. Slow Dance
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 34. In Phrygian Mode
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 35. Chorale
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 36. Free Canon
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 37. In Lydian Mode
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 38. Staccato and Legato I
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 39. Staccato and Legato (Canon)
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 40. In Yugoslav Style
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 41. Melody with Accompaniment
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 42. Accompaniment in Broken Triads
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 43. In Hungarian Style (version A: 2 pianos; version B: piano solo)
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 44. Contrary Motion II (2 pianos)
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 45. Meditation
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 46. Increasing - Diminishing
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 47. County Fair
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 48. In Mixolydian Mode
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 49. Crescendo - Diminuendo
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 50. Minuet
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 51. Waves
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 52. Unison Divided
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 53. In Transylvanian Style
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 54. Chromatics
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 55. Triplets in Lydian Mode (2 pianos)
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 56. Melody in Tenths
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 57. Accents
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 58. In Oriental Style
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 59. Major and Minor
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 60. Canon with Sustained Notes
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 61. Pentatonic Melody
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 62. Minor Sixths in Parallel Motion
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 63. Buzzing
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 64. Line against Point (versions A and B)
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 65. Dialogue (with voice)
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 2: No. 66. Melody Divided
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 67. Thirds against a Single Voice
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 68. Hungarian Dance (2 pianos)
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 69. Study in Chords
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 70. Melody against Double Notes
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 71. Thirds
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 72. Dragons' Dance
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 73. Sixths and Triads
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 74. Hungarian Matchmaking Son (versions A and B; version B with voice)
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 75. Triplets
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 76. In Three Parts
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 77. Little Study
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 78. Five-tone Scale
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 79. Hommage a Johann Sebastian Bach
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 80. Hommage a Robert Schumann
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 81. Wandering
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 82. Scherzo
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 83. Melody with Interruptions
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 84. Merriment
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 85. Broken Chords
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 86. Two Major Pentachords
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 87. Variations
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 88. Duet for Pipes
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 89. In Four Parts I
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 90. In Russian Style
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 91. Chromatic Invention I
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 92. Chromatic Invention II
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 93. In Four Parts II
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 94. Once Upon a Time...
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 95. Fox Song (versions A and B; version B with voice)
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 3: No. 96. Jolts
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 4: No. 97. Notturno
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 4: No. 98. Thumbs Under
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 4: No. 99. Hands Crossing
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 4: No. 100. In Folk Song Style
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 4: No. 101. Diminished Fifth
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 4: No. 102. Harmonics
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 4: No. 103. Minor and Major
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 4: No. 104. Wandering through the Keys (versions A and B)
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 4: No. 105. Game (with two five-tone scales)
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 4: No. 106. Children's Song
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 4: No. 107. Melody in the Mist
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 4: No. 108. Wrestling
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 4: No. 109. From the Island of Bali
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 4: No. 110. And the Sounds Clash and Clang...
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 4: No. 111. Intermezzo
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 4: No. 112. Variations on a Folk Tune
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 4: No. 113. Bulgarian Rhythm I.
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 4: No. 114. Theme and Inversion
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 4: No. 115. Bulgarian Rhythm II
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 4: No. 116. Song
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 4: No. 117. Bourree
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 4: No. 118. Triplets in 9/8 Time
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 4: No. 119. Dance in 3/4 Time
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 4: No. 120. Triads
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 4: No. 121. Two-part Study
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 5: No. 122. Chords Together and in Opposition
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 5: No. 123. Staccato and Legato II (versions A & B)
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 5: No. 124. Staccato
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 5: No. 125. Boating
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 5: No. 126. Change of Time
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 5: No. 127. New Hungarian Folk Song (with voice)
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 5: No. 128. Stamping Dance
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 5: No. 129. Alternating Thirds
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 5: No. 130. Village Joke
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 5: No. 131. Fourths
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 5: No. 132. Major Seconds Broken and Together
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 5: No. 133. Syncopation III
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 5: No. 134. Studies in Double Notes (versions A, B and C)
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 5: No. 135. Perpetuum mobile
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 5: No. 136. Whole-tone Scales
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 5: No. 137. Unison
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 5: No. 138. Bagpipe Music
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 5: No. 139. Jack-in-the-Box
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 6: No. 140. Free Variations
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 6: No. 141. Subject and Reflection
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 6: No. 142. From the Diary of a Fly
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 6: No. 143. Divided Arpeggios
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 6: No. 144. Minor Seconds, Major Sevenths
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 6: No. 145. Chromatic Invention III (versions A and B)
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 6: No. 146. Ostinato
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 6: No. 147. March
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 6: No. 148. 6 Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm I
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 6: No. 149. 6 Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm II
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 6: No. 150. 6 Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm III
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 6: No. 151. 6 Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm IV
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 6: No. 152. 6 Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm V
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 6: No. 153. 6 Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm VI

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