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
Discovering Masterpieces - Bartók: Concerto For Orchestra
Release Date: 10/30/2007   Label: Euroarts  
Catalog: 2056098   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Concerto for Piano no 3, Sz 119

Browse 1-25 of 58 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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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  • 2.
    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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  • 3.
    Istvan Kertesz: The London Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002033602 Release Date: 04/15/2014   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Bruckner,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  Walter Berry,  Christa Ludwig,  Pilar Lorengar,  Erzsébet Komlossy  ... 
    Conductor:  István Kertész
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers,  Brighton Festival Chorus  ... 
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  • 4.
    Teldec - 50-CD Collection
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 643851 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Antonín Dvorák,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  András Schiff,  Josef Protschka,  Barbara Bonney,  Edita Gruberova  ... 
    Conductor:  Iván Fischer,  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Carlo Rizzi,  Reinbert De Leeuw  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Festival Orchestra,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $299.98
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  • 5.
    Bartok: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 3; Music For Strings, Percussion And Celesta
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 22303 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  Edith Farnadi
    Conductor:  Hermann Scherchen
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  • 6.
    Martha Argerich - 5 Classic Albums
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 844412 Release Date: 07/09/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Béla Bartók,  Frédéric Chopin,  Alberto Ginastera  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Renaud Capuçon,  Mischa Maisky
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  Alexandre Rabinovitch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana
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  • 7.
    Colin Davis: The Philips Years [15-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001850302 Release Date: 06/18/2013   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Stephen Kovacevich,  Claudio Arrau,  Jessye Norman,  Jon Vickers  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle  ... 
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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    Lugano Concertos / Martha Argerich [Limited Edition 4-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001725602 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Francis Poulenc,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Alexandre Gurning,  Paul Gulda,  Rico Gulda  ... 
    Conductor:  Alexandre Rabinovitch,  Erasmo Capilla,  Alexander Vedernikov,  Charles Dutoit  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Switzerland Radio/TV Orchestra,  Italian Switzerland Radio/TV Chorus,  Lugano Percussion Group
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  • 10.
    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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  • 11.
    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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  • 12.
    The Decca Sound [50-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001619902 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Claude Debussy,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Alfredo Campoli,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Cecilia Bartoli  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Vladimir Ashkenazy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 13.
    Ultimate Piano Concerto Collection (W/Cdrom) (Box)
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 9098 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 30
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Frédéric Chopin,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Derek Han,  Evgeni Kissin,  Karin Lechner,  Klára Würtz  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Freeman,  Stephen Gunzenhauser,  Dmitri Kitayenko,  Eduardo Marturet  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Israel Chamber Orchestra,  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $88.99
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  • 14.
    Anthology Of The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Vol 6 - Live Radio Recordings 1990-2000
    Label: Rco Live   Catalog: 11004 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Luciano Berio,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Ildiko Komlósi,  Kolos Kovacs,  Martha Argerich,  Ann Murray  ... 
    Conductor:  Iván Fischer,  Claus Peter Flor,  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Luciano Berio  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Swingle Singers,  Netherlands Radio Women's Chorus
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  • 15.
    Bartok: Piano Concertos 1-3 / Schiff, Fischer
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 674378 Release Date: 08/30/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  András Schiff
    Conductor:  Iván Fischer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Festival Orchestra
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  • 16.
    Martha Argerich Edition - Concertos
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 94031 Release Date: 06/07/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Renaud Capuçon,  Mischa Maisky,  Sergei Nakariakov  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  Alexandre Rabinovitch,  Alexander Vedernikov,  Mikhail Pletnev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana,  Italian Switzerland Radio/TV Orchestra
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  • 17.
    Debussy, Ravel And Bartok / Monique Haas
    Label: Dg Double   Catalog: 439666 Release Date: 03/24/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  Monique Haas
    Conductor:  Paul Paray,  Ferenc Fricsay
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra,  Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra
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  • 18.
    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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  • 19.
    The 20th Century Piano Concerto Vol 1 - Prokofiev, Falla, Gershwin, Bartok, Stravinsky, Ravel
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 462859 Release Date: 01/26/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Manuel de Falla,  George Gershwin,  Béla Bartók  ... 
    Performer:  Byron Janis,  Clara Haskil,  Eugene List,  Stephen Kovacevich  ... 
    Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin,  Igor Markevitch,  Howard Hanson,  Sir Colin Davis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra,  Lamoureux Concerts Association Orchestra,  Eastman-Rochester Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 20.
    Bartok: Piano Concertos Nos. 1, 2 & 3 / Bavouzet, Noseda, BBC Philharmonic
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10610 Release Date: 09/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  Jean-Efflam Bavouzet
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Noseda
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 21.
    Bartok, Prokofiev: Piano Concertos No 3 / Ashkenazy, Solti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 411969 Release Date: 12/29/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Sergei Prokofiev
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti,  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 22.
    Bartok: Piano Concerto No 3; Ravel: Piano Concerto In G / Wurtz, Kuchar
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 958756 Release Date: 11/24/2009  
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Klára Würtz
    Conductor:  Theodore Kuchar
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 23.
    20th-century Masterpieces - 100 Years Of Classical Music
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 17500 Release Date: 11/24/2008   Number of Discs: 16
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Claude Debussy,  Frederick Delius,  Gustav Mahler  ... 
    Performer:  Leif Ove Andsnes,  Christa Ludwig,  Martha Argerich,  Sarah Chang  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonio Pappano,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Otto Klemperer  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Melos Ensemble London
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  • 24.
    Dinu Lipatti - The Master Pianist
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 07318 Release Date: 09/02/2008   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Schubert,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Dinu Lipatti
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  • 25.
    Emi 20th Century Classics - Bartok: Violin Concerti, Piano Concerti / Donohoe, Sitkovetsky, Rattle, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 06885 Release Date: 07/22/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  Dmitri Sitkovetsky,  Peter Donohoe
    Conductor:  Libor Pesek,  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
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