Why the lack of love for Bartok?

Audiophile Bill

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#21
Bill, you'll be telling me you don't like "Bitches Brew" next.
Yeah it is utter garbage. I think Miles had smoked too much crack by that album. Hate it.
 

Audiophile Bill

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#22
On another note, there are many great composers that one has to “work” at to get into fully. I just don’t hold Bartok in that category.
 

spiritofmusic

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#23

spiritofmusic

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#24
On another note, there are many great composers that one has to “work” at to get into fully. I just don’t hold Bartok in that category.
Bartok doesn't need any work. Just works.

Personally, Justin Bieber needs more concentration on my part.
 

tima

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Mar 4, 2014
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#25
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
Bartók went through a period trying to find his own musical voice. During the first part of the 20th C. he wrote more melodic music. Trouble is that music is/was kinda boring.

He drew quite a bit on Hungarian folk melody and dances. He wrote for the piano as a percussion instrument - which it is. For his 1st Piano Concerto he placed the percussion section next to the piano.

Writing about Bartók's three Piano Concertos, here is what I said of the Third:

"Bartók lay dying as he wrote his Third Piano Concerto in 1945. Despite its angular themes and spiky rhythms, the Third is the least obdurate and most accessible of the three. Its otherworldly but harmonically heartwarming Adagio religioso offers a striking contrast with Bartók’s music up to that point. Here is the final resting place of the composer’s evolution."

He wrote the piece as a present to his wife. There are parts of the Adagio that are light and the quite dreamy. The Allegro reflects positive feelings.

If you want to hear his PC No. 3, try Ferenc Fricsay with Geza Anda on piano.
Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft/Speakers Corner SLPM 138111

cf. http://www.theaudiobeat.com/music/bartok_concertos_lp.htm
 

the sound of Tao

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Jul 18, 2014
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#26
Back at the start of my classical journey with some of my favourite conductors (Reiner, Dorati, Boult and Mravinsky et al) championing Bela Bartok I was very keen to discover its waters and so I did somewhat buy into Bartok when I was first exploring the late romantics.

The Concerto for Orchestra, Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste, the Violin Concertos and even his more sentimental Hungarian and Romanian dances all appeared occasionally on my playlist. Over the years these works very much did fall off my radar and to be honest I’ve never really gone back or analysed why so this discussion is great.

Tim’s spiky and angular description (great writing) captures for me the spirit of Bartok’s smaller chamber works and smaller pieces in general while the larger works seem more accessible. His fundamental fascination with folk ethnomusicology and his very much in a headspace approach to composition in his earlier works isn’t so comfortable though there seems greater ease in his final works.

But in the end it really just comes down to what music you find nourishment in.

I don’t feel compelled to pull apart works that I don’t resonate with generally (I usually allow natural attrition to play out) but the General’s comments on dissonance without resolve really strikes a chord (apologies). Perhaps there is some essential emptiness there.

I do find music dominated with darkness and angst to be an understandable reflection of the world facing European composers at the beginning of the 20th century. Social discord, the struggle of the revolution, a world of great dark social repression always on the very edge of war would make any artist finding a sense of lifting spiritual resolve in writing in the burden of that dark night of the soul an extraordinary challenge.

But I do listen also to less accessible, darker and more intense and even discordant music at occasional times but for whatever reason Bartok isn’t music that I am often drawn to return to now. I do find I feel boxed in by it so maybe that is exactly the outcome of the General’s dissonance without resolve.

I don’t overthink but in the end it just comes down just to rightness for me in music selection. The music I love and play regularly just has rightness and I rarely feel compelled to exert pressure on myself now (the way I did early on) to listen to music out of an expectation created by others. So now if I try it and it just doesn’t resonate I don’t struggle, I just look elsewhere. Nor do I think that means anything to others who do then find the right connection in that very same music.

I’m just happy to to get in some ways a better understanding of these things from the discussions on classical music that are happening here more often recently. Helps to know thyself a bit better through a shared musical journey.
 
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RogerD

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#27
Listening now...vintage Bartok. I am really enjoying this. 8DAD615C-D84C-45B2-AFAA-73A141C34E08.png
 
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Tango

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#28
I don’t overthink but in the end it comes down just to rightness for me in music selection and the music I love and play regularly just has rightness and I rarely feel compelled to exert pressure on myself now (the way I did early on) to listen to music out of an expectation created by others so now if I try it and it just doesn’t resonate I don’t struggle, I just look elsewhere. Nor do I think that means anything to others who do then find the right connection in that very same music.

I’m just happy to to get in some ways a better understanding of these things from the discussions on classical music that are happening here more often recently. Helps to know thyself a bit better through the shared musical journey of others.
I am feeling the same way. Personally I never "work" to appreciate or try to "understand" music. At the same time I don't "close" myself to music especially when friends make me notice of such music. I am liking more Beethoven's by the way. ;)

Tang
 

Audiocrack

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Aug 10, 2012
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#29
For me working to appreciate or trying to understand certain - classical - music turned out to be very rewarding: in the end some of these - at first hearing (somewhat) ‘difficult’ works - pieces turned out to be much more interesting, intriguing or rewarding than many so called ‘easy’ or ‘mainstream’ pieces such as eg some music by Mozart.

Btw, for me this does not only apply to Bartok but also to composers like Arnold Schonberg, Anton Webern and Alban Berg.
 

Al M.

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#30
Yeah it is utter garbage. I think Miles had smoked too much crack by that album. Hate it.
Nonsense, it's superb. Love it.

But then, I'm a musical omnivore. I love Schubert's romantically brooding piano sonata D 960, and I love Stockhausen's Mikrophonie for tam-tam and 6 players just as much. And yes, I love Beethoven's string quartets too, all of them.
 
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Al M.

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#31
I am feeling the same way. Personally I never "work" to appreciate or try to "understand" music.
I do. *Always*.

At the same time I don't "close" myself to music especially when friends make me notice of such music.
That's great!

I am liking more Beethoven's by the way. ;)

Tang
I love, love, looove Beethoven!
 

Al M.

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#32
Dissonance alone is worthless without resolve.
Says who? I love music where dissonances resolve, and I love music where they do not resolve.

The dissonance in the huge climax of the Adagio of Bruckner's Ninth, one of the greatest symphonies ever written, does not resolve either.
 

Al M.

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#33
For me working to appreciate or trying to understand certain - classical - music turned out to be very rewarding: in the end some of these - at first hearing (somewhat) ‘difficult’ works - pieces turned out to be much more interesting, intriguing or rewarding than many so called ‘easy’ or ‘mainstream’ pieces such as eg some music by Mozart.
Agree, that is my experience too.

By the way, I also think that some Mozart is just so-so -- but some is absolutely superb.
 

Audiocrack

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#34
Agree, that is my experience too.

By the way, I also think that some Mozart is just so-so -- but some is absolutely superb.
Totally agree with you as regards Mozart. Love Anton Bruckner btw; read a biography about the poor / lonesome chap some time ago: intriguing how such a naive character could write this out of this world / beautiful music. Symphony no. 9: just wow.
 
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#35
I like threads like this, about music composers who are not on the radar of all classical music lovers. By that I mean we didn't hear all his compositions, except perhaps for three or five members. Same here, I know little about this composer, and usually I just pass; in general the music reminds me driving @ the rush hour in Mexico City without AC.
But, some pieces I dig...and the more I learn about the man it all gel better.

We like what we like because no two people are in depth the same about what we listen to and know. Bartok rocks (some pieces), others are tough, very tough to float smoothly on the surface.

It's personal...Bartok exploration...it's worthy to me. He's a different music composer who had a different life experience (they all did). I wouldn't start with him for a first adventurer into the classical music world, no way...along the way ye. Since Marc started this thread I learned more, I gain advancement. It's challenging to be in a Bartok mood, very...it takes nerves of steel, do you have that steel in you?
 

Al M.

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#36
I wouldn't start with him for a first adventurer into the classical music world, no way...along the way ye. Since Marc started this thread I learned more, I gain advancement. It's challenging to be in a Bartok mood, very...it takes nerves of steel, do you have that steel in you?
It's a generational thing as well. I know of young people who not only have no problem with modern classical, but even prefer it to the older composers.
 

bonzo75

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#37
It's a generational thing as well. I know of young people who not only have no problem with modern classical, but even prefer it to the older composers.
It is a myth that classical is generational. Do you think it matters when you are listening to music composed between 1400s to 1900s if you are 30, 60, or 80?

The reason younger people in their teens and 20s do not prefer classical as much as older people is simply exposure. Unless a kid has grown up playing classical instruments or in a school orchestra, he will get exposed to pop and rock and MTV. When he starts earning his own and starts earning some money , and wants to explore new music, he will start attending concerts, which are expensive, so again, he needs to be financially stable. That is why for many this exposure comes at a later age, and gets confused with generation.
 

Al M.

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#38
It is a myth that classical is generational. Do you think it matters when you are listening to music composed between 1400s to 1900s if you are 30, 60, or 80?

The reason younger people in their teens and 20s do not prefer classical as much as older people is simply exposure. Unless a kid has grown up playing classical instruments or in a school orchestra, he will get exposed to pop and rock and MTV. When he starts earning his own and starts earning some money , and wants to explore new music, he will start attending concerts, which are expensive, so again, he needs to be financially stable. That is why for many this exposure comes at a later age, and gets confused with generation.
I was talking also about young people who are exposed to both modern classical and standard classical -- even in the same concert. One young fellow was in the same concert where I heard Elliot Carter's Symphonia and Beethoven's Third (Boston Symphony / Levine). He very much preferred the Carter, which is a great piece as well, I must say.
 

bonzo75

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#39
I was talking also about young people who are exposed to both modern classical and standard classical -- even in the same concert. One young fellow was in the same concert where I heard Elliot Carter's Symphonia and Beethoven's Third (Boston Symphony / Levine). He very much preferred the Carter, which is a great piece as well, I must say.
Ok, now we have evidence it is generational. :)Maybe as he grows older and gets more exposure he will prefer the Beethoven
 

the sound of Tao

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#40
Al, just as equally my 18 year old nephew has a tt, likes valve amps and has Harbeths :) has amazing taste in classical and jazz music and is very much a B man. He’s also asked if I’ll leave him my system lol
 
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