Monday, November 12, 2012

Immensely rewarding

It's tempting to think of much of Bartok's work as derivative country music, but that I guess is what happens if you devote much of your musical life researching Hungarian folk songs.  As a (very bad) clarinetist I got to know him through his folk songs as lots of budding woodwind players do, not realising how much more there was to discover.

It's true there are some gypsy elements to his 'second'* violin concerto and Kyung Wha Chung performing with the London Philharmonic at the Kingsway Hall in 1976 with Bartok's former student Georg Solti (DECCA 473 271-2) is certainly capable of transporting us to a gypsy camp fire, but this is no peasant entertainment.

It takes a bit of getting used to and it seems a bit weird at first, but if like me you would happily sit and listen to the great Korean playing a C major scale, the time invested is a) no hardship and b) immensely rewarding.

* his 'first' was never finished or recognised as such by him after he abandoned it when his muse spurned him

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