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A Folk Song Runs Through It: Bartok, Janacek, Kodaly / Andrew Rangell, piano

Album Summary

>Janácek, Leos : In the mists (V Mlhach), pieces (4) for piano, JW 8/22
>Bartók, Béla : Improvisations (8) on Hungarian Peasant Songs, Op. 20, Sz 74
>Bartók, Béla : Romanian Folkdances (6) for Piano, Sz 56
>Kodaly, Zoltan [Composer] : Pieces (7) for piano, Op. 11
>Bartók, Béla : Sonata for Piano, Sz 80
Performer Composers

Notes & Reviews:

The creative achievements of Bartók, Janácek, and Kodály were nourished by a lifelong study of indigenous folk music. In these works, folk-influences range from the simple presentation of actual folk song to the transformation of folk materials to suit more complex structures. The folk element, even when fully assimilated, is never lost. "A folk song runs through it." - Andrew Rangell

American Record Guide, November/December 2013
The Seven Pieces for Piano, Op. 11, by Kodaly, offer a more expansive bridge to the final work on the program, the Bartok Piano Sonata. Kodaly's ear is sure, and his sense of balance and pacing is at its best in these pieces. Bartok Sonata is presented with efficiency and aplomb. Particularly noteworthy is Rangell's handling of the tempo changes in III. The several tempos are rationally connected, and yet musically distinct; the pianist has clearly grappled with the force of the music and understands how it must both hold together and come apart in order to truly connect with the listener. A thoughtful collection of music, nicely arranged and well played.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport, MA (05/2012).


Interesting folk inspired pieces from Bartok, Janacek, and Kodaly
This recording from Steinway & Sons features Andrew Rangell performing one work from Leos Janacek, 3 from Bela Bartok, and one From Zoltan Kodaly. Each of these pieces features snippets from, or is based upon, folk melodies that each composer had heard and was familiar with. First is a wonderful, wistful piece titled “In the Mists” from Janacek. The melodies are seemingly simple, but in reality playing them as gently and expressively as Mr. Rangell does is quite difficult, and for me this work was really the highlight of the entire recording.

Next is “Improvisations on Hungarian Peasant Songs” from Bela Bartok. This is a series of eight short pieces, each of which has a definite harmonic relationship to the next. There are some elements of discord in the music in the manner typical of Bartok’s musical lens, but on the whole the set of eight pieces work together very well. Following this is Bartok’s “Six Romanian Folk Dances”, each of which is based (according to the well written liner notes) based on a fiddle tune. This is a fun set of pieces, more enegertic than the previous set of eight pieces, and is definitely something that the Bartok lover should hear.

Now we come to the Kodaly work, “Seven Pieces for Piano”. These Debussy influenced pieces (you just can’t miss this when you hear them), have a definite Debussy-like harmonic texture to them, while at the same time possessing Kodaly’s occasionally unique tonal choices. If you like Kodaly’s works on the whole, then this piece is definitely for you.

Finally, we finish with Bartok’s “Sonata”, the only one that he ever wrote for piano. The Bartok feel is evident right away, with sweeping chords up and down the keyboard and choppy folk-like rhythms. If you enjoy Bartok’s string quartets, then this is right up your alley.

This is all difficult music to bring to life, and Mr. Rangell again shows himself to be more than up to the task. That being said, for me I find I have to be in just the right “rainy-day” mood to really get in touch with these Bartok and Kodaly works, while Janacek’s “In the Mists” grabbed me the first time I heard it. So if you are a Bartok lover, then you definitely should give this well recorded disc a listen. On the other hand, if Bartok really isn’t for you, there is definite value in listening to “In the Mists”. I am glad I have this in my collection.

Submitted on 08/26/13 by KlingonOpera 
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Works Details

>Leos Janácek (Composer) (1854 - 1928) : In the mists (V Mlhách), pieces (4) for piano, JW 8/22
  • Performer: Andrew Rangell (Piano)
  • Running Time: 14 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: by 04/21/1912

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Improvisations (8) on Hungarian Peasant Songs, Op. 20, Sz 74
  • Performer: Andrew Rangell (Piano)
  • Running Time: 11 min. 13 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1920

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Romanian Folkdances (6) for Piano, Sz 56
  • Performer: Andrew Rangell (Piano)
  • Notes: Composition written: 1915.
  • Running Time: 4 min. 13 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1915

>Zoltán Kodály (Composer) (1882 - 1967) : Pieces (7) for piano, Op. 11
  • Performer: Andrew Rangell (Piano)
  • Running Time: 20 min. 29 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1910-1918

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Sonata for Piano, Sz 80
  • Performer: Andrew Rangell (Piano)
  • Running Time: 12 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1926