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 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 ……..From Allmusic
Having always felt intimate with Bartok's as well as gypsy music of the roma, I've thoroughly enjoyed playing this recording, loud. It helps to have recently read "Bury Me Standing"- comes from the saying, 'Bury me standing, I've been on my knees all my life'.
Three 20th-century orchestral scores, Bartók’s Two Pictures, Debussy’s Jeux and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, all dating from 1910-13 and all linked (as the detailed CD booklet explains), are brought to life in the hands of two exceptional French pianists. The central interest is the ballet Jeux. One of the world’s outstanding Debussy interpreters, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet has added to his complete Chandos recordings with his own transcription for two pianos. Written late in Debussy’s life for Nijinsky, Jeux involves an emotionally erotic and harmonically daring game of tennis. Bavouzet and his well-matched partner, François-Fréderic Guy, play with nimble grace, capturing the works wit and mystery. This gripping album is dedicated to Pierre Boulez, guru and enabler, for his 90th birthday.
Charles Aznavour's double-disc Duos album boasts a lot of starpower and a bunch of his greatest hits, but there's less than initially meets the eye here. Sure, a quick glance at the track listing shows a long list of international superstars who team up with Aznavour to sing duets on the album, including Céline Dion, Julio Iglesias, Placido Domingo, Laura Pausini, Elton John, Johnny Hallyday, Nana Mouskouri, Sting, Josh Groban, Carole King, Paul Anka, Herbert Gronemeyer, Liza Minnelli, and Bryan Ferry. Even the late Edith Piaf, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin show up for duets. Moreover, the track listing reads like a greatest-hits collection, compiling the classics…
Sonatas includes works by Ludwig van Beethoven, Béla Bartók and Magnus Lindberg performed by pianist Pasi Eerikäinen and violin player Emil Holmström - Beethoven’s titanic Violin Sonata No. 9, Op.47, the Kreutzer Sonata, Hungarian composer Béla Bartók’s Violin Sonata No. 2, one of the most compelling creations of the composer’s avant-garde period. Sonatas, a world premiere on this recording, is a relatively early work by the Finnish Magnus Lindberg. In this work, the composer’s influence all hail from traditional musical traditions – German, French and Italian – though instead of fixating on Baroque or Classical styles, Lindberg takes inspiration from notable 20th-century composers. Pasi Eerikäinen plays first violin with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Emil Holmström has a particular interest in the avant garde, be it Ferrucio Busoni, the Second Viennese School or electroacoustic music, which Holmström regularly performs as a member of the defunensemble.
The Végh Quartet was not only one of the finest string quartets from mid-twentieth century Europe, but its style was never subjected to radical change over the years from personnel changes because the four original players remained members for 38 of the 40 years of the ensemble's existence. Its style evolved in subtle ways, of course, but its essential character endured until 1978: the quartet was Central European in its sound, with a bit more prominence given to the cello in order to build tonal qualities from the bottom upward. The Végh Quartet was best known for its cycles – two each – of the Beethoven and Bartók quartets. It also performed and recorded many of the Haydn quartets, as well as numerous other staples of the repertory by Mozart, Schumann, Brahms, and Debussy. For a group that disbanded in 1980, its recordings are still quite popular, with major efforts available in varied reissues from Music & Arts, Archipel, Naïve, and Orfeo.