From Caroline West
Posted January 29, 2007 at 05:34 AM
The third one is frequently played much too slow, but I have heard the original folk tune played on the Hungarian shepherd's flute, and it has a real liveliness and dance quality to it which is frequently missing. As for getting the harmonics to speak, play near the bridge with a slow bow (no sliding around).
The fourth one, just go for the best tone and most vibrato colors possible.
The fifth one, be sure to observe the changes in meter! I've often heard it played as if it's all in 2/4, but it goes between 3/4 and 2/4--typical Hungarian rhythm, it's really neat when you bring it out.
The last one, just have fun. This is the one where the actual writing for the violin is most similar to the playing of folk fiddlers in Transylvania. This just hit me recently, as I was listening to a scratchy old field recording from somewhere near the Szekélyföld--"Hey, that sounds like the last Romanian Folk Dance!"
Second mvt: Measure 15-16, do the F# quarter and eighth notes in first position with the second finger, slide with the third finger (C# to F# half note) up the G string. That is a most nifty shift.
Fifth mvt: Do measure 13 in fourth position.
Sixth mvt: Take measure 33-end faster!
As for the "stick" or "baton", that's the first one. (Not "sword".) "Jocul cu bâta" = literally, "dance with sticks."
edit: pardon my spelling, even my extended keyboard can't handle all the Romanian letters. :)
Dear Maura: Here's what Mr. Skowronski has used during his performances when speaking from the stage re - translation of the dance movements:
1- JOC CU BATA: Dance with Sticks--or a game played with a stick. From Mezoszabad, district of Maros-Torda, in Transylvania. Merry and energetic with a gaily syncopated melody.
2- BRAUL: Waistband Dance. The word actually means--a cloth belt worn by men or women. From Egres, district of Torontal, now a part of Yugoslavia. Gay and quick in duple measure.
3- PE LOC: Stamping Dance. Translation is literally "on the spot." A dance in which participants do not move from a certain location. From Egres. Rather slow with a steady step and a melody notable for small intervals. (Mr. Skowronski plays this movement 'con sordino' so as to create a suggested -perhaps- icy affect.
4- BUCIUMEANA: Hornpipe Dance. Dance from Butschum, the district of Torda-Aranyos in Transylvania. Graceful, most romantic of the selected dances.
5- POARCA ROMANEASCA: Romanian Polka serving also as a Romanian Children's Dance. POARCA is a game played by the country children. From Belenyes district of Bibar on the border between Hungary and Transylvania. Quick and lively with a broken-chord melody marked into groups of three beats, three beats, two-beats.
6- MARUNTEL: Quick Dance. A fast dance using very small steps and movements. (Akin to Ireland's 'Break Dancing') From Belenyes.
So far, no complaints from our Hungarian friends.
Skowronski: Classical Recordings
According to "Szekely and Bartok: The Story of a Friendship", by Claude Kenneson, Szekely transcribed these pieces in 1925 from the original piano versions (1915). Bartok and Szekely premiered them in 1925.
According to "The Bartok Companion", Malcolm Gillies, ed. (a book all good Hungarians should have), there was an extra dance cut from the original 1915 piano version. Ooo, The Lost Folk Dance! This book also disputes Szekely's premiere date, putting it at 1926.
Also from "The Bartok Companion", in Chapter 11, referring to the 1915 piano version, the author Janos Karpati states:
"Its material had been collected by the composer during his tours to the counties of Maros-Torda (Mures), Bihar (Bihor), Torda-Aranyos (Turda) and Torontal in 1910 and 1912. Romanian folk music offered Bartok a number of elements that were attractive, not found in Hungarian folk music and, moreover, stimulating to his further renewal of twentieth-century art music. Above all, the Romanian instrumental folk music was much richer than that of Hungary, and involved such instruments as one or two violins, violin and guitar, peasant flute or bagpipes...Bartok hardly ever preserved the tempos of the original tunes, but made fast dances even faster and the slow ones even slower, therby giving an individual character to each one."
My spell checker has officially collapsed.
There is a video of some woman playing these on youtube.
Anna, I got that book from the library once, will buy it as soon as I find a nice cheap copy. :) Good enough (for a külföldi magyar at least)?
Mara, go to your favorite online book retail establishment, and buy a used one. They are fairly inexpensive.
The harmonic piece (The Stamping dance I think) was interesting.
When I listen to these, I wear 2 pairs of shoes. Having looked for decades at the flow of dynamics of Appalachian music from pre-shape note days, I have some abstract awareness of Bartok on his collection journies versus what was translated upward. Still, the renditions are awesome, and the lady as well. When she grinned at the crowd, I knew I was in for a treat.
I guess I'm gonna have to take a couple pints of Uncle Joe's finest and go to Romania to get to the heart of this matter! ;>)...
p.s. Thanks Anne.
Sorry about that. I posted the wrong one. Here's the full one:
It is with Janine Jensen (the girl of Bram's dreams :))
Hopefully this works better.
Bartók was a hell of a pianist, by the way. One of my favorites of all time, and I'm picky about my pianists!
A Short and True Story:
'bout a year and a half, I ran across Janine's web site--maybe even a little longer, and was wow'd by how pretty she was. It was a warm day in June, and the rain had just stopped falling giving away to a sunny intoxicating June, with the summer's essence at it's very finest. (gotta have some filler).
Couple years before that, I started casually collecting information on Bartok--for folk reasons. 'bout a year after that, I started violin. So George brings these three together. Janine, violin and Bartok--dang man--I feel like I owe you a beer at least.
This is an idea from Wallachian gypsies; but how it should be is ofcourse mainly Transylvanian. Men can play all the six dances (maybe exept the third part) in the band-form of Transylvania: violin, three-stringed viola and doublebass.
The style of the playing (ornaments, melodic subtilities, rythms) is bound on given villages; the melodies are known in much bigger areas. For example, you can find the thema of the second rapsody in the whole Transylvanian plain. It must be said that the folkplayers don't know Bartok. Bartok knows them.
An idea how to play the third movement: to imitate the shepherd's flute, don't play flageolets, play normal, but tuch only the strings and not the vingerboard! And use a bit ponticello. This is a common way to imitate a flute among folk fiddlers in Romania.
Mara, I would assume that Bartok gave up the glories of the concert hall to chase the REAL money of composing!
btw, doesn't "Taraf de Haidouks" mean "band of brigands" or something? Awesome name for a cigányzenekar. :)
Edit: wow, is this thread the official gathering of v.commie ethnomusicologists or what....Albert, have you found any parallels between American and Transylvanian folk fiddling yet? :)
(...ha Erdélybe mentek, beszélsz magyarul??)
What might some of the qualities modified in translation for example? More vibrato? That kind of thing. For example one quality different in bluegrass fiddling, actually is that--less vibrato.
And in high-quality folk musician, I mean one who is on the balcony just jamming rather than having excelled in a folk-culture....
In the fifth movement, what should I do with those grace note markings? Should they sound or not?
Yes, the grace notes should be sounded ( though they end up being played as even rhythms) - give a listen to this exciting version by Janine Jensen
There is also a DVD of Henryk Szeryng playing with subtle musicality and great fervor and sentiment- it also has a remarkable performance of the Ravel Tzigane as well.
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