Béla Bartók

Biography

Born: 1881   Died: 1945   Country: Hungary   Period: 20th Century
Through his far-reaching endeavors as composer, performer, educator, and ethnomusicolgist, Béla Bartók emerged as one of the most forceful and influential musical personalities of the twentieth century. Born in Nagyszentmiklós, Hungary (now Romania), on March 25, 1881, Bartók began his musical training with piano studies at the age of five, foreshadowing his lifelong affinity for the instrument. Following his graduation from the Royal Academy of Read more Music in 1901 and the composition of his first mature works -- most notably, the symphonic poem Kossuth (1903) -- Bartók embarked on one of the classic field studies in the history of ethnomusicology. With fellow countryman and composer Zoltán Kodály, he traveled throughout Hungary and neighboring countries, collecting thousands of authentic folk songs. Bartók's immersion in this music lasted for decades, and the intricacies he discovered therein, from plangent modality to fiercely aggressive rhythms, exerted a potent influence on his own musical language.

In addition to his compositional activities and folk music research, Bartók's career unfolded amid a bustling schedule of teaching and performing. The great success he enjoyed as a concert artist in the 1920s was offset somewhat by difficulties that arose from the tenuous political atmosphere in Hungary, a situation exacerbated by the composer's frank manner. As the specter of fascism in Europe in the 1930s grew ever more sinister, he refused to play in Germany and banned radio broadcasts of his music there and in Italy. A concert in Budapest on October 8, 1940, was the composer's farewell to the country which had provided him so much inspiration and yet caused him so much grief. Days later, Bartók and his wife set sail for America.

In his final years Bartók was beleaguered by poor health. Though his prospects seemed sunnier in the final year of his life, his last great hope -- to return to Hungary -- was dashed in the aftermath of World War II. He died of leukemia in New York on September 26, 1945. The composer's legacy included a number of ambitious but unrealized projects, including a Seventh String Quartet; two major works, the Viola Concerto and the Piano Concerto No. 3, were completed from Bartók's in-progress scores and sketches by his pupil, Tibor Serly.

From its roots in the music he performed as a pianist -- Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Brahms -- Bartók's own style evolved through several stages into one of the most distinctive and influential musical idioms of the first half of the twentieth century. The complete assimilation of elements from varied sources -- the Classical masters, contemporaries like Debussy, folk songs -- is one of the signal traits of Bartók's music. The polychromatic orchestral textures of Richard Strauss had an immediate and long-lasting effect upon Bartók's own instrumental sense, evidenced in masterpieces such as Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta (1936) and the Concerto for Orchestra (1945). Bartók demonstrated an especial concern with form in his exploitation and refinement of devices like palindromes, arches, and proportions based on the "golden section." Perhaps above all other elements, though, it is the ingenious application of rhythm that gives Bartók's music its keen edge. Inspired by the folk music he loved, Bartók infused his works with asymmetrical, sometimes driving, often savage, rhythms, which supply violent propulsion to works such as Allegro barbaro (1911) and the Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion (1937). If a single example from Bartók's catalogue can be regarded as representative, it is certainly the piano collection Mikrokosmos (1926-1939), originally intended as a progressive keyboard primer for the composer's son, Peter. These six volumes, comprising 153 pieces, remain valuable not only as a pedagogical tool but as an exhaustive glossary of the techniques -- melodic, harmonic, rhythmic, formal -- that provided a vessel for Bartók's extraordinary musical personality. Read less
Bartók: Choral Music / Tillai, Pecs University Choir, Et Al
Release Date: 11/21/2000   Label: Somm  
Catalog: 216   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Concerto for Violin no 2, Sz 112

Browse 1-25 of 63 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Bartok: Violin Concerto No. 2 & Concerto for Orchestra / Dumay, Nagano, Montreal Symphony
    Label: Onyx   Catalog: 4138 Release Date: 05/06/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  Augustin Dumay
    Conductor:  Kent Nagano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Yehudi Menuhin: The Complete American Victor Recordings
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 519854 Release Date: 05/06/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Edouard Lalo,  Max Bruch,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Béla Bartók  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Adolf Baller,  Wanda Landowska,  Carroll Hollister  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Monteux,  Charles Munch,  Antal Doráti,  George Enescu
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $34.98
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  • 3.
    Europakonzert: 25 DVD Anniversary Box (1991-2015) / Berliner Philharmoniker
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 26098 Release Date: 04/29/2016  
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Leonidas Kavakos,  Mikhail Pletnev,  Violeta Urmana,  Elke Wilm Schulte  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Pierre Boulez,  Gustavo Dudamel,  Claudio Abbado  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Swedish Radio Choir,  Eric Ericson Chamber Choir
    On sale! $118.99
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  • 4.
    Simon Rattle & His Soloists: The CBSO Years
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 555058 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Franz Liszt,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Performer:  Cécile Ousset,  Nigel Kennedy,  Lynn Harrell,  Marielle Labčque  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra,  London Sinfonietta
    On sale! $49.98
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  • 5.
    The Menuhin Century: Luxury Edition
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 555050 Release Date: 04/22/2016   Number of Discs: 91
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny,  Arcangelo Corelli  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Hubert Giesen,  Artur Balsam,  Marcel Gazelle  ... 
    Conductor:  Landon Ronald,  Pierre Monteux,  Jean Fournet,  Anatole Fistoulari  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Paris Symphonic Orchestra,  Colonne Concerts Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $250.99
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  • 6.
    The Menuhin Century: The Historic Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 555052 Release Date: 04/22/2016   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonín Dvorák,  Niccolň Paganini  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Gerald Moore,  George Enescu,  David Oistrakh  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Edward Elgar,  George Enescu,  Pierre Monteux,  Sir John Barbirolli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Paris Symphonic Orchestra,  Orchestre De La Société Des Concerts Du Conservatoire  ... 
    On sale! $54.98
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  • 7.
    Bartok: Complete Works
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002459502 Release Date: 03/25/2016   Number of Discs: 32
    Composer:  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  Erich Binder,  Zoltán Kocsis,  Viktoria Mullova,  Gil Shaham  ... 
    Conductor:  Gyorgy Lehel,  Iván Fischer,  Antal Doráti,  Pierre Boulez  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Symphony Orchestra,  Budapest Festival Orchestra,  Detroit Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $212.49
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  • 8.
    1930s Violin Concertos, Vol. 2: Prokofiev & Bartok / Shaham
    Label: Canary Classics   Catalog: 16 Release Date: 02/26/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  Gil Shaham
    Conductor:  Eric Jacobson,  Stéphane Denčve
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Knights,  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 9.
    Violin Concertos, Recitals
    Label: Swr Music   Catalog: 19005 Release Date: 02/12/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Niccolň Paganini,  Johannes Brahms,  Claude Debussy,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Ivry Gitlis,  Daria Horova
    Conductor:  Stanislaw Skrowaczewski,  Hans Rosbaud,  Wolfgang Rennert
    CD: $29.99
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  • 10.
    Bartok: Violin Concerto No. 2 / Previn, Perlman, London Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 552972 Release Date: 11/06/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman
    Conductor:  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $11.99
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  • 11.
    Itzhak Perlman: The Complete Warner Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 552439 Release Date: 09/25/2015   Number of Discs: 77
    Composer:  Niccolň Paganini,  Pablo de Sarasate,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Ray Still,  Samuel Sanders  ... 
    Conductor:  Lawrence Foster,  Daniel Barenboim,  Itzhak Perlman,  Bernard Haitink  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 12.
    Bartok: Violin Concerto No. 2; Concerto For Orchestra / Papavrami, Krivine
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 205 Release Date: 08/28/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  Tedi Papavrami
    Conductor:  Emmanuel Krivine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 13.
    Bartok, Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos / Hadelich
    Label: Avie   Catalog: 2323 Release Date: 07/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  Augustin Hadelich
    Conductor:  Miguel Harth-Bedoya
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Norwegian Radio Orchestra
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  • 14.
    Kyung-Wha Chung: The Complete Warner Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 2564614053 Release Date: 05/12/2015   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Claude Debussy,  Antonín Dvorák,  Jacques Ibert  ... 
    Performer:  Kyung-Wha Chung,  Itamar Golan,  Myung-Wha Chung,  Myung-Whun Chung  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $44.99
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  • 15.
    Bela Bartok: Complete Choral Works
    Label: Budapest Music Center/Bmc (Hungary)   Catalog: 186 Release Date: 04/14/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Béla Bartók
    Conductor:  László Dobszay
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  • 16.
    Pierre Boulez - 20th Century
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002250902 Release Date: 02/10/2015   Number of Discs: 44
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Alban Berg,  Harrison Birtwistle,  Pierre Boulez  ... 
    Performer:  John Tomlinson,  John Aler,  Krystian Zimerman,  Leif Ove Andsnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Martyn Brabbins
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Chorus,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $279.49
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  • 17.
    Kyung Wha Chung - Complete Decca Recordings [19 CDs & 1 DVD]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002217700 Release Date: 01/06/2015   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Jean Sibelius,  Fritz Kreisler  ... 
    Performer:  Kyung-Wha Chung,  Phillip Moll,  Radu Lupu,  Myung-Wha Chung  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  André Previn,  Rudolf Kempe,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $68.99
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  • 18.
    Leonard Bernstein Edition - Concertos & Orchestral Works
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301330 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 80
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Béla Bartók  ... 
    Performer:  Isaac Stern,  Leonard Bernstein,  Harold Gomberg,  William Heim  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Seiji Ozawa,  Maurice Peress
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  New York Philharmonic members,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 19.
    Bartok: Concerto No. 2; Prokofiev: Concerto No. 1 / Franco Gulli
    Label: Idi   Catalog: 6689 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Sergei Prokofiev
    Performer:  Franco Gulli
    Conductor:  Mario Rossi,  Sergiu Celibidache
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  • 20.
    Ferenc Fricsay: Complete DG Recordings, Vol 1 - Orchestral Works
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002132602 Release Date: 09/02/2014   Number of Discs: 45
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  César Franck  ... 
    Performer:  Géza Anda,  Tibor Varga,  Helmut Krebs,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
    On sale! $175.98
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  • 21.
    Viktoria Mullova: 3 Classic Albums
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002044702 Release Date: 05/06/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Johannes Brahms,  Igor Stravinsky  ... 
    Performer:  Viktoria Mullova
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa,  Claudio Abbado,  Esa-Pekka Salonen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $21.99
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  • 22.
    Berg, Bartok: Violin Concertos / Stern, Bernstein, New York Philharmonic
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 350099 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Alban Berg
    Performer:  Isaac Stern
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
    SuperAudio CD: $24.99
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  • 23.
    Bernard Haitink - The Philips Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001903502 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng,  Herman Krebbers,  Menahem Pressler,  Isidore Cohen  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Beaux Arts Trio  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 24.
    Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto; Bartok: Violin Concerto No 2 / Stern
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 95624 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  Isaac Stern
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel,  Ernest Ansermet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 25.
    Bartok: Violin Concertos No 1 & 2 / Isabelle Faust, Daniel Harding, Swedish Radio Symphony
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 902146 Release Date: 08/13/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  Isabelle Faust
    Conductor:  Daniel Harding
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
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