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

Work: Concerto for Violin no 2, Sz 112

Browse 1-25 of 58 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Ferenc Fricsay: Complete Recordings On Deutsche Grammophon, 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  ... 
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  • 2.
    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
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  • 3.
    The Hubermann Week Festival, 30th Anniversary
    Label: Helicon   Catalog: 29667 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Shlomo Mintz,  Isaac Stern,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Daniel Benyamini  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
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  • 4.
    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
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  • 5.
    Bernard Haitink - The Philips Years [20-CD Set]
    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  ... 
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  • 6.
    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:  Swiss Festival Orchestra
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  • 7.
    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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  • 8.
    Bartok: Violin Concertos / Zehetmair, Fischer, Budapest Festival Orchestra
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 9436 Release Date: 06/25/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  Thomas Zehetmair
    Conductor:  Iván Fischer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Festival Orchestra
    CD: $8.99
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  • 9.
    Mercury Living Presence - The Collector's Edition Vol 2
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001831802 Release Date: 06/04/2013   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg,  Anton Webern,  Alban Berg,  Ottorino Respighi  ... 
    Performer:  Helga Pilarczyk,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Mihaly Székely,  Olga Szönyi  ... 
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti,  Rafael Kubelik,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Frederick Fennell  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Hungarica  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 10.
    Bartok: Concertos, Miraculous Mandarin / Labeques, Chung, Donohoe, Rattle
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 150372 Release Date: 05/07/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  Marielle Labčque,  Katia Labčque,  Sylvio Gualda,  Jean-Pierre Drouet  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
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  • 11.
    Patricia Kopatchinskaja Plays Bartok, Eotvos, Ligeti
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5285 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Peter Eötvös,  György Ligeti
    Performer:  Patricia Kopatchinskaja
    Conductor:  Peter Eötvös
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Ensemble Modern
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  • 12.
    Solti Conducts Bartok
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001746002 Release Date: 10/16/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Leó Weiner,  Zoltán Kodály
    Performer:  Alexandru Agache,  Tamás Daróczy,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Kyung-Wha Chung  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra Strings,  Hungarian Radio/TV Chorus  ... 
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  • 13.
    Pierre Boulez Conducts Bartok
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001660402 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  Krystian Zimerman,  Leif Ove Andsnes,  Hélčne Grimaud,  Nigel Thomas  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
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  • 14.
    Bartok, Tchaikovsky: Violin Concertos / Valeriy Sokolov, David Zinman
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 42017 Release Date: 11/01/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Valeriy Sokolov
    Conductor:  David Zinman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra
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  • 15.
    Anne-Sophie Mutter - The Complete Musician [40-CD Limited Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: B001587372 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Max Bruch  ... 
    Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Mark Zeltser,  Yo-Yo Ma,  Antonio Meneses  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Paul Sacher,  Witold Lutoslawski,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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    On sale! $399.98
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  • 16.
    Bartok: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2, Viola Concerto / Ehnes, Noseda, Bbc Philharmonic
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10690 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  James Ehnes
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Noseda
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 17.
    Wilhelm Furtwangler - The Great EMI Recordings
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 07878 Release Date: 05/17/2011   Number of Discs: 21
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Béla Bartók,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf,  Elisabeth Höngen,  Hans Hopf,  Otto Edelmann  ... 
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 18.
    Khachaturian, Bartok: Violin Concertos / Haendel , Kray, Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 94207 Release Date: 04/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Aram Khachaturian
    Performer:  Ida Haendel
    Conductor:  Hans Müller-Kray
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 19.
    Ferenc Fricsay Conducts Bela Bartok
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 21407 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  Tibor Varga,  Helmut Krebs,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Andor Foldes  ... 
    Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus
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  • 20.
    Bartok: Violin Concertos / Steinbacher, Janowski, Orchestre De La Suisse Romande
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186350 Release Date: 08/31/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  Arabella Steinbacher
    Conductor:  Marek Janowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
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  • 21.
    The Art Of Ivry Gitlis - Violin Concertos
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 958196 Release Date: 07/13/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Alban Berg,  Max Bruch,  Paul Hindemith  ... 
    Performer:  Ivry Gitlis
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  • 22.
    Bartok: Violin Concertos 1 & 2 / Zehetmair, Fischer, Budapest Festival Orchestra
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 115292 Release Date: 03/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  Thomas Zehetmair
    Conductor:  Iván Fischer
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  • 23.
    The Great Violin Concertos / Yehudi Menuhin
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 64198 Release Date: 04/21/2009   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Edouard Lalo  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Cocker,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Christian Ferras,  William Bennett  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Lysy,  Jerzy Maksymiuk,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Efrem Kurtz  ... 
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  • 24.
    Yehudi Menuhin - The Great EMI Recordings
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64131 Release Date: 04/21/2009   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Lili Boulanger,  Ernest Bloch,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Ferguson Webster,  Derek Simpson,  Robert Masters  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  John Pritchard,  George Enescu,  Sir William Walton  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Colonne Concerts Orchestra  ... 
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  • 25.
    Bartok: Violin Concerto No 2;  Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No 1 / Steinberg, Ivanov, Et Al
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 175 Release Date: 01/27/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  Yossif Ivanov
    Conductor:  Pinchas Steinberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Flemish Philharmonic
    CD: $17.99
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