Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Bela Bartok Playing His Own Works

"Béla Bartók Playing His Own Works: Excerpts from 'Mikrokosmos'"

Released in 1952 by Columbia Records (ML 4419), the excerpts were originally recorded by Bartók (1881-1945, Hungarian) himself in 1940.  Bartók is important in music history not only for his work as a composer, but also for his research collecting, notating, and analyzing folk music from Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria.  His research is often considered to be the beginning of the academic field of musicology, and especially of ethnomusicology.  This particular disc contains 33 excerpts from his 6-volume didactic work entitled Mikrokosmos.

From the sleeve:
     "Mikrokosmis is a set of one hundred and fifty-three short pieces for the piano student, beginning with comparatively easy studies and continuing with those for more advanced pupils.  Bartók worked on it for eleven years, from 1926 to 1937.  As John Weissmann says, 'The series is not merely a graded piano-method based on advanced principles, but also--and this is perhaps even more valuable-- a collection of models in composition.  In fact, a detailed analysis of every piece would result in a textbook on the technical principles of contemporary music.'
    Nicolas Slonimsky has written of Mikrokosmos thus, 'The particular problem posed by each exercise is indicated by the titles . . . Several pieces bear titles of the particular mode they are written in.  There are pieces written in the folk style of different nations, particularly Balkan nations . . . There are descriptive pieces . . . There are sound imitations . . . There are dances- classical and Balkan national . . . "

Malcolm Gillies"Bartók, Béla." Grove Music OnlineOxford Music OnlineOxford University Press.Web27 Sep. 2016. <http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/

Béla Bartók. Bèla Bartòk Playing His Own Works: Excerpts from "Mikrokosmos". New York: Columbia, 1952. Sound recording.

Nash Library Catalog Record

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Since earning her Ph.D. in music theory and history from the University of Connecticut in 2014, Dr. Sekula has been a full-time faculty member with the department of music at USAO where she teaches the music theory curriculum and conducts the concert band. Sekula also serves as the coordinator for the department of music. She has previously earned Bachelor’s degrees in music education and flute performance from Lebanon Valley College and a Master’s of Music in flute performance from George Mason University. Sekula has studied flute with Barbara Divine, Dr. Theresa Bowers, Judith Lapple, and Dr. Barbara Hopkins.