Hello friends !
I would like to share with you, a small part of the huge inheritance of folk music collection realized by Bela Bartok.
As you certainly know, this immense figure of the XX century’s music, Hungarian composer born on Romanian territory, was equally one of the greatest musical anthropologists of all times. He was not only an assiduous collector of folklore but he had changed the very paradigm itself, of the musical anthropology, as well by means of the the methodology he employed and the unattainable accuracy of his transcriptions.
The reason of this Sisyphean work can only be explained by the fact that Bartok saw in the folk music a genuine source of inspiration, renovation and originality for his own art, his « egoism » as a creator fully dedicated to his art explaining the energy and unique dedication he spent as a folk music collector.
From the huge Bartok’s folk music collections and transcriptions – completed by deep and extensive comments on the phenomenon - around three quarters have as subject the Romanian music from Transylvania : 50000 collected melodies . The 5000 published and reviewed until the last days of his short live, revealed to the public knowledge a fascinating musical universe, of an yet unsuspected melodic and rhythmic richness.
His collecting methods where revolutionary, always looking for the unalterableness of the source in his natural habitat. And the way he transcribed in European notation , with an impossible minutia, revealed infinitesimal and delicious details in rhythm and melody.
As you certainly know, Bartok himself harmonized some of those collected materials, though proportionally scarcely compared with the extension of the collections.
On the other hand, when traversing those collections, we can see that his entire musical universe is immersing in a sonorous world which is so often Transylvanian and Romanian.
Among the most brilliant examples for the promotion of this Bartokian endeavour I will only remember the subtle and virtuoso violinist Sherban Lupu. He dedicated his energies in a brilliant way , few years ago, and identified every collected melody among those Bartok used in the Second Rhapsody for violin and orchestra. Then, he exemplified on the classical violin, aside the very text of the Rhapsody, the sources from the respective collections, with the indications, tempo, and all the details as provided in Bartok’s transcriptions.
The task, Lupu confessed, was of a draconian technical difficulty , due to the complexity of scordaturas, the speed, the intonations, the rhythmical irregularities, all fully scored by Bartok with a phonographic precision. The mimicry of the peasant spontaneous art seemed, therefore, hard to be reproduced by a classical musician !
On my side, being fascinated since my studentship by Bartok’s folk music collections, I made the commitment – without any connection with my work as a composer – to bring to public light those collection which make the delight of the anthropologists and specialized scholars, but remained yet unknown to the music lovers.
I chose Batok’s own solution : I first operated a choice among melodies, then I organized the material into an instrumental suite. I harmonized and orchestrated it, reshaped it in a « composition », in a style appropriate with the given material, which I preserved as much unaltered as possible. The resulting style is sometimes near Bartok’s own language, sometimes, because of the material, more alike Enescu’s or Stravinsky’s depending on the circumstances and needs.
The result was therefore Two different suites, arranged for different ensembles :
A suite of 10 melodies arranged in 7 movements, for string soloist ( violin, viola or cello) and piano, and for piano soloist. The suite is also available for string soloist and orchestra ( chamber orchestra or string orchestra) . A version of this score equall