Why the lack of love for Bartok?

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
8,810
959
113
E. England
#1
I noticed a while back, I think on Tang's thread posting clips of his collectable vinyl, that an aside of Beethoven trouncing Bartok came up, and before anything, a whole bunch of comments came in pretty much decrying Bartok as somehow fake, or not worthy, or even worse.

I've been trawling thru my classical vinyl, and have been hugely enjoying lps like:
Concerto For Orchestra/P Boulez on CBS
Music For Strings, Percussion and Celeste/Divertimento/N Mariner on Argo
Mikrokosmos/Out Of Doors/Sonatina/S Bishop on Philips
The Wooden Prince/A Dorati on Philips
Six String Qts/Hungarian Qt on DG boxset
Violin Concerto No.2/Y Menuhin on EMI
The Miraculous Mandarin/Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Mercury.

I've got no issue if you don't like Bartok. But to suggest he's somewhat unworthy, get outta here.

This stuff is as heady, romantic, fiendish, clever and melodic as any number of other composers.

And since he laid the foundations for the prog breakout in late 60s w King Crimson and informed left field music like Magma, I love him.

What say you, Bartok nay sayers?
 
Likes: tima
May 30, 2010
15,433
667
113
Portugal
#2

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
8,810
959
113
E. England
#3
Francisco, tbh there was a somewhat snobby dismissal of Bela on the Tang thread by quite a few fellows here.

I'm glad you're confirming it's not unanimous.
 

Al M.

VIP/Donor
Sep 10, 2013
4,581
375
83
Greater Boston
#5
To me Bartok was one of the greatest composers of the 20th Century. The man was a genius and ahead of his time.
+1000 !!!!!

Just last weekend I greatly enjoyed again:
Music For Strings, Percussion and Celesta (Budapest Festival Orchestra / Ivan Fischer)
Piano Concerto No. 1 (Zoltan Kocsis, same orch./cond. as above)

The string quartets are perennial favorites that get regular spins.
 
Likes: microstrip

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
8,810
959
113
E. England
#7
Just loving Pierre Boulez conducting Concerto For Orchestra. Last mvt is gonna grace my tt when I have guests over.
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
11,680
1,476
113
London
#8
Is Bartok your Zu now, are you going to carry the flag on the forum?
 

Audiophile Bill

Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2015
2,403
763
113
UK
#9
Bartok = meh :eek:

In all seriousness, I am not a fan, but this discussion you refer to was in the context of Beethoven! If you recall, Tang was struggling with Beethoven to the incredulity of others.

That said, whilst you and others may like Bartok, he is nowhere near the *vastly* superior Beethoven :p Imho ymmv and all that politically correct bollox.
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
8,810
959
113
E. England
#10
Bill, you'll be telling me you don't like "Bitches Brew" next.
 
Feb 8, 2011
21,645
522
113
Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada
#13
Bartok = meh :eek:

In all seriousness, I am not a fan, but this discussion you refer to was in the context of Beethoven! If you recall, Tang was struggling with Beethoven to the incredulity of others.

That said, whilst you and others may like Bartok, he is nowhere near the *vastly* superior Beethoven :p Imho ymmv and all that politically correct bollox.
Yes, I do remember Beethoven's discussion...which symphony, performers, record label, etc.
I must have missed the one about Bartok, or it was during an interlude.
 

Tango

VIP/Donor
Mar 12, 2017
2,940
1,710
113
Bangkok
#14
Even if he is poo, I have at least one Bartok album I like.
I haven't done a lot of homework on Bartok. Like Folsom, I could probably pick one to buy if I want to own a piece. (Probably a more melodic less complicated one. ;)) I have no criticism of his excellence as a composer. But every time I hear his music, it is like eating fusion food that is so mixed up I don't know what to like. Maybe I could decide to like strange flavors. That's about it. And I am no musician to appreciate or understand such great musical technicality if there is a lot to it. Here is an example of what I am talking about. It is on piano by Argerich.


For trained classical listeners might be wonderful. But for my peasant musical taste it rather sounds like the chef was throwing ingredients into the mix whenever something popped up in his head.

Kind regards,
Tang
 
Likes: MadFloyd

Audiocrack

Well-Known Member
Aug 10, 2012
2,017
65
48
#16
Bartok is not an ‘easy’ composer like eg Mozart, Tchaikovsky or Mendelssohn; the latter composers all have this gift for melody. So enjoying Bartok’s music needs (much) more ‘work’ or listening hours before one starts to understand what his music is all about. That said, I eg still do not fully ‘understand’ all his string quartets. However, some of his piano music (including the piano concerto’s) is very beautiful indeed although sometimes in a sad way (Bartok was a man of principles, as a non jew he left his home country and went to the US because he did not want to live under the nazi’s). As for this sadness: you can eg feel his unanswered love for violinist Steffi Geyer and as a consequence great sadness in his first violin concerto.
 
Last edited:
Likes: MadFloyd
Apr 14, 2018
214
124
43
#17
Spirit you are a usurper,

I hold the opinion that Bartok is over rated and pretentious.The compositions ask no questions and provide no answers.

Dissonance alone is worthless without resolve.The scores are always narrow leaving little space for flair or technical virtuosity.

As both Gould and Brendel agree,I feel comfortable on my side of the fence.

Bait me at your chagrin.

Kindest regards,G.
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
8,810
959
113
E. England
#18
General, we're not gonna agree on this. But since I've heard less than 0.001-0.005% of what you have, I'm at a natural disadvantage, so no way am I arguing w you.

In a game of Scissors Paper Stone, you bring a small atom bomb LOL.
 
Likes: bonzo75

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
11,680
1,476
113
London
#19
General, we're not gonna agree on this. But since I've heard less than 0.01% of what you have, I'm at a natural disadvantage, so no way am I arguing w you.

In a game of Scissors Paper Stone, you bring a small atom bomb LOL.
You are in a different mood this morning. What were you on last night
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
8,810
959
113
E. England
#20
I'm always chilled in the morning. And no way am I jousting w our mutual friend and uber classical expert.

Music is SOOO subjective, evidenced in our disagreement about Tony Williams the day I visited.

Bartok. Pretentious? Hmm, if a tendency to dramatics via multiple chord changes is pretentious, maybe. But I don't see Bach described this way, and he has more changes than anyone.

Bartok suffers maybe not being on the purely melodic end of things. But this can be aimed at those 20th century Russian composers as well. I love most of them. Yes, even Stravinsky.

No flair or technical virtuosity? This just sounds like an empty criticism. Like saying Pollock just threw paint about. I guess there is throwing paint, and then there is THROWING paint.

And I get full emotions despite the technique on display. The last mvt of Concerto For Orchestra/Pierre Boulez lp is up there for me on symphonic fireworks and edge of seat tension.

And I can hear the musical DNA connection straight to King Crimson, Magma, even 70s Miles Davis.

What's not to like?
 
Likes: Al M.

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. A place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss existing and new audio products, music servers, music streamers and computer audio, digital to audio convertors (DACS), turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel to reel, speakers, headphones, tube amplifiers and solid state amplification. Founded in 2010 What's Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing