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An Evening in the Village: The Music of Béla Bartók

Audio Samples

>Bartók, Béla : Hungarian Sketches, BB 103
>     An Evening in the Village
>     Melody
>Bartók, Béla : Ruthenian 'kolomejka' (Rutén kolomejka), duo for 2 violins (44 Duos Vol. 3/35), Sz. 98/35, BB 104/35
>Bartók, Béla : Five-Tone Scale, for piano (Mikrokosmos Vol. 3/78), Sz. 107/3/78, BB 105/78
>Traditional, American : Cousin Sally Brown
>Bartók, Béla : Duos (44) for 2 violins, Volumes 1-4, Sz. 98
>     Dance from Máramaros, Sz. 98/32
>Bartók, Béla : Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm, BB 105
>     Dance no 3 (Mikrokosmos #150)
>     Dance no 2 (Mikrokosmos #149)
>     Dance no 4 (Mikrokosmos #153)
>Bartók, Béla : Stars, Stars, Brightly Shine, for piano (For Children Vol. 2/33), Sz. 42/2/33, BB 53/33
>Bartók, Béla : Play (Játék), duo for 2 violins (44 Duos Vol. 1/9), Sz. 98/9, BB 104/9
>Bartók, Béla : Wedding Song (Lakodalmas), duo for 2 violins (44 Duos Vol. 1/13), Sz. 98/13, BB 104/13
>Bartók, Béla : Romanian Whirling Dance (Forgatós), duo for 2 violins (44 Duos Vol. 4/38), Sz. 98/38, BB 104/38
>Bartók, Béla : Romance
>     "I Know a Little Forest", for piano (For Children Vol. 4/34), Sz. 42/4/34, BB 53/76
>Bartók, Béla : Romanian Christmas Carols, for piano Series I, Sz. 57, BB 67
>Bartók, Béla : Cushion Dance (Párnás-tánc), duo for 2 violins (44 Duos Vol. 1/14), Sz. 98/14, BB 104/14
>Bartók, Béla : Hungarian Song 1 (Magyar nóta I), duo for 2 violins (44 Duos Vol. 1/6), Sz. 98/6, BB 104/6
>Bartók, Béla : Jocul cu bâta (Stick Dance), for piano (Romanian Folk Dances no 1), Sz. 56/1, BB 68 1

Album Summary

>Bartók, Béla : Hungarian Sketches, BB 103
>Bartók, Béla : Ruthenian 'kolomejka' (Rutén kolomejka), duo for 2 violins (44 Duos Vol. 3/35), Sz. 98/35, BB 104/35
>Bartók, Béla : Five-Tone Scale, for piano (Mikrokosmos Vol. 3/78), Sz. 107/3/78, BB 105/78
>Traditional, American : Cousin Sally Brown
>Bartók, Béla : Duos (44) for 2 violins, Volumes 1-4, Sz. 98
>Bartók, Béla : Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm, BB 105
>Bartók, Béla : Stars, Stars, Brightly Shine, for piano (For Children Vol. 2/33), Sz. 42/2/33, BB 53/33
>Bartók, Béla : Play (Játék), duo for 2 violins (44 Duos Vol. 1/9), Sz. 98/9, BB 104/9
>Bartók, Béla : Wedding Song (Lakodalmas), duo for 2 violins (44 Duos Vol. 1/13), Sz. 98/13, BB 104/13
>Bartók, Béla : Romanian Whirling Dance (Forgatós), duo for 2 violins (44 Duos Vol. 4/38), Sz. 98/38, BB 104/38
>Bartók, Béla : Romance
>Bartók, Béla : Romanian Christmas Carols, for piano Series I, Sz. 57, BB 67
>Bartók, Béla : Cushion Dance (Párnás-tánc), duo for 2 violins (44 Duos Vol. 1/14), Sz. 98/14, BB 104/14
>Bartók, Béla : Hungarian Song 1 (Magyar nóta I), duo for 2 violins (44 Duos Vol. 1/6), Sz. 98/6, BB 104/6
>Bartók, Béla : Jocul cu bâta (Stick Dance), for piano (Romanian Folk Dances no 1), Sz. 56/1, BB 68 1
Performers Composers
Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: 2010-04-??&2010-08-??&2010-.

Those browsing for a conventional program of Béla Bartók's music will receive little clue of what they're getting into from the external packaging of this album, which is both highly diverting and entirely original. Essentially it consists of short pieces by Bartók, as well as some excerpts from larger works, arranged for an American progressive bluegrass ensemble: banjo, violin, mandolin, guitar, cello, and bass. Project leader banjoist Jake Schepps concedes that the idea is "unlikely," but give it a listen. At the very least, you'll hear something quite unlike any other recording. On top of that, Schepps is joined by some top-notch players, including veteran San Francisco Bay Area mandolinist Matt Flinner and cellist Ben Sollee, a participant in some of banjoist Abigail Washburn's Chinese-bluegrass fusions. A key unheard presence is producer Jayme Stone, a Canadian-American banjoist who has recorded with West African musicians; this project in its way is even more ambitious, and that's all to the good. The deeper idea Schepps is exploring is that progressive bluegrass has the same kind of relationship to American roots material as Bartók's music did to its Hungarian, Bulgarian, Romanian, and Balkan forbears: in each case, the musicians abstract certain features of the roots form (a rhythm, a scale, a motive, an instrumental timbre) and explore it formally. Schepps underlines this by including a traditional American tune, Cousin Sally Brown, and just slightly "Bartók-ifying" it. Some pieces work better than others. For progressive bluegrass listeners, the initial impression is likely to be that the players have taken the genre and stripped out one of its most important components, namely the jazz influence. But keep listening, and intriguing commonalities emerge. Bartók's slow pieces work perfectly well when played with violin techniques developed to convey an American country waltz. Many of the pieces from Bartók's Mikrokosmos or from the 44 Violin Duos explore specific scales, and the scalar music of bluegrass is not so far away. Schepps freely mixes in bluegrass rhythms; the pieces are not simple transcriptions but reimaginings. The music is not consistently successful, but it has the excitement of true originality. ~James Manheim



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Works Details

>Bartók, Béla : Hungarian Sketches, BB 103 :: An Evening in the Village
  • Performers: Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ross Martin (Guitar); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ben Sollee (Cello)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 55 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1931

>Bartók, Béla : Ruthenian 'kolomejka' (Rutén kolomejka), duo for 2 violins (44 Duos Vol. 3/35), Sz. 98/35, BB 104/35
  • Performers: Ben Sollee (Cello); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ross Martin (Guitar); Matt Flinner (Mandolin)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 51 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1931

>Bartók, Béla : Five-Tone Scale, for piano (Mikrokosmos Vol. 3/78), Sz. 107/3/78, BB 105/78
  • Performers: Ben Sollee (Cello); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ross Martin (Guitar); Matt Flinner (Mandolin)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1926-1939

>Traditional, American : Cousin Sally Brown
  • Performers: Ross Martin (Guitar); Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Ben Sollee (Cello); Matt Flinner (Mandolin)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 22 sec.

>Bartók, Béla : Duos (44) for 2 violins, Volumes 1-4, Sz. 98 :: Dance from Máramaros, Sz. 98/32
  • Performers: Ben Sollee (Cello); Ross Martin (Guitar); Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Matt Flinner (Mandolin)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1931

>Bartók, Béla : Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm, BB 105 :: Dance no 3 (Mikrokosmos #150)
  • Performers: Ryan Drickey (Violin); Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ross Martin (Guitar); Ben Sollee (Cello); Matt Flinner (Mandolin)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 44 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1926-1939

>Bartók, Béla : Stars, Stars, Brightly Shine, for piano (For Children Vol. 2/33), Sz. 42/2/33, BB 53/33
  • Performers: Ryan Drickey (Violin); Ben Sollee (Cello); Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ross Martin (Guitar)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1908-1910

>Bartók, Béla : Play (Játék), duo for 2 violins (44 Duos Vol. 1/9), Sz. 98/9, BB 104/9
  • Performers: Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ben Sollee (Cello); Ross Martin (Guitar)
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1931

>Bartók, Béla : Wedding Song (Lakodalmas), duo for 2 violins (44 Duos Vol. 1/13), Sz. 98/13, BB 104/13
  • Performers: Ross Martin (Guitar); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ben Sollee (Cello); Jake Schepps (Banjo)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1931

>Bartók, Béla : Romanian Whirling Dance (Forgatós), duo for 2 violins (44 Duos Vol. 4/38), Sz. 98/38, BB 104/38
  • Performers: Ross Martin (Guitar); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Jake Schepps (Banjo); Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ben Sollee (Cello)
  • Notes: Composition written: 1931.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1931

>Bartók, Béla : Romance :: "I Know a Little Forest", for piano (For Children Vol. 4/34), Sz. 42/4/34, BB 53/76
  • Performers: Ben Sollee (Cello); Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ross Martin (Guitar)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 48 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1908-1910

>Bartók, Béla : Play (Játék), duo for 2 violins (44 Duos Vol. 1/9), Sz. 98/9, BB 104/9
  • Performers: Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ross Martin (Guitar); Ben Sollee (Cello); Ryan Drickey (Violin)
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1931

>Bartók, Béla : Romanian Christmas Carols, for piano Series I, Sz. 57, BB 67
  • Performers: Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ross Martin (Guitar); Grant Gordy (Guitar); Ben Sollee (Cello)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Christmas
  • Written: 1915

>Bartók, Béla : Cushion Dance (Párnás-tánc), duo for 2 violins (44 Duos Vol. 1/14), Sz. 98/14, BB 104/14
  • Performers: Ross Martin (Guitar); Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ben Sollee (Cello)
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1931

>Bartók, Béla : Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm, BB 105 :: Dance no 2 (Mikrokosmos #149)
  • Performers: Ben Sollee (Cello); Ross Martin (Guitar); Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Matt Flinner (Mandolin)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 9 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1926-1939

>Bartók, Béla : Hungarian Sketches, BB 103 :: Melody
  • Performers: Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ben Sollee (Cello); Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Ross Martin (Guitar)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1931

>Bartók, Béla : Hungarian Song 1 (Magyar nóta I), duo for 2 violins (44 Duos Vol. 1/6), Sz. 98/6, BB 104/6
  • Performers: Ryan Drickey (Violin); Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ross Martin (Guitar); Ben Sollee (Cello); Matt Flinner (Mandolin)
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1931

>Bartók, Béla : Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm, BB 105 :: Dance no 4 (Mikrokosmos #153)
  • Performers: Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ross Martin (Guitar); Grant Gordy (Guitar); Ben Sollee (Cello); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Jake Schepps (Banjo)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1926-1939

>Bartók, Béla : Jocul cu bâta (Stick Dance), for piano (Romanian Folk Dances no 1), Sz. 56/1, BB 68 1
  • Performers: Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ben Sollee (Cello); Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Ross Martin (Guitar)
  • Notes: Composition written: 1915.
  • Running Time: 4 min. 44 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1915