The Austro-Hungarian Empire Before 1914The Austro-Hungarian Empire—made up of lands ruled by the Hapsburgkings—existed between 1867 and 1918 .It was divided loosely into two parts: the western third was Austria, in a broadsense, with its capital in Vienna.The larger western part was Hungary, its capital in Budapest. Both partsspread over other nations—each with its own language and history—that werestriving for independence.The Empire disintegrated during World War I, leaving both Austriaand Hungary as small independent countries.
The Life of Béla Bartók (1881–1945)• 1881 - born in a small farming village near the Hungarian-Romanian border; grows up in Pozsony, near Vienna• 1899 - enters the Music Academy in Budapest• 1901 - begins to tour as a professional pianist• 1904 - discovers the simple folk songs of Hungarian peasants• 1907 - appointed professor of piano at the Budapest Academy• 1940 - emigrates to America, lives in New York• 1943 - composes the Concerto for Orchestra• 1945 - dies in New York
Bela Bartók and Hungarian Folk Music• The nation of Hungary was greatly reduced in size following World War I.• Its rural people still preserved a rich culture of folk songs, some of which were ancient in orgin.• Hungarian composer Bela Bart ók collected and studied this musical repertoire.• He especially valued old Hungarian songs, which tended to be: – simple in expression – pentatonic in pitch content – flexible in their freedom from a strict beat.
Bartók’s Music• Bartók often made artistic arrangements of folk songs.• His original compostions (i.e. Concerto for Orchestra): – reveal elements of the folk style – combine modern harmonic practices• Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra is close to the symphony in form: – though the virtuosic treatment of various instruments from the orchestra ties in with the idea of a concerto.• The themes and motives are closely unified and this work has a classical tone in form and genre that hints at Stravinsky’s neoclassicism.
Principal Compositions by Béla Bartók• Opera and ballets: include – Duke Bluebeard’s Castle (opera) – The Miraculous Mandarin (ballet)• Orchestra: includes concertos (2 for violin, 3 for piano), Concerto for Orchestra , Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta• Chorus: arrangements, Cantata profana• Chamber music: string quartets (6), Contrasts (violin, clarinet, piano), Sonatas for violin (2)• Piano: Sonata, character pieces, arrangements, pedagogical works (including Mikrokosmos )• Songs: mostly folk song arrangements
Features of Old Hungarian Peasant Songs in “Fekete főd”• strophic form• each line has same number of syllables (here 11)• melody is purely pentatonic (here E G A B D)• rhythm is free from beat and chantlike (“parlando- rubato”)• downward leap of fourth at final cadence
Béla Bartók, Concerto for Orchestra, 1943, movement 1Sonata form