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Bartók: 44 Duos for 2 Violins / Keller, Pilz

Album Summary

>Bartók, Béla : Duos (44) for 2 violins, Volumes 1-4, Sz. 98
>Ligeti, György : Ballade and Dance, for 2 violins
>Kurtág, György : Work(s)
Performers Composers

Notes & Reviews:

"Bartok wrote his highly inventive Duos - almost all of them arrangements of folksongs from various cultures - for a German violin pedagogue, grading them in order of technical difficulty. These performances, by two members of the Keller Quartet, are explemplary, hitting exactly the right tone of folk-like melancholy or exuberance for each piece." ***** - Misha Donat BBC

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Hearing top-grade quartet violinists tackle these flavoured educational duos is a delight, though not an original one. (The Emerson's co-leaders Eugene Drucker and Philip Setzer have already done likewise, albeit to quite different effect.) All, or virtually all, is revealed right from the opening 'Transylvanian Dance' where the newcomers' phrasing and rhythm are appropriately unbuttoned, their combined tone full but unforced (Note: Keller and Pilz actually start at the end with Duo 'No 44'.) Bartók's original plan had been to place the easiest pieces first, then gradually pile on the challenges as the series progressed. However, for concert purposes he sanctioned the idea of not playing them in order. Their chosen sequence is very well planned.

The interpretative axis centres principally on harmony and rhythm, and characterisation is always vivid. In general the slower pieces leave the strongest impression: that's where these players harbour their most personal responses, but then the slowest pieces probably are the best. Though Sándor Végh's accounts with Alberto Lysy are rather more earthy, the advantage of this version is that it seems to have been conceived with continuous listening in mind: the ear never tires.

It would be easy to pigeonhole this set as veering in the general direction of the Végh's Bartók, just as the Keller's Bartók quartet cycle does, then make a parallel observation of Drucker and Setzer as representing the less stylised manner of their own Emerson Quartet. Which would be fairly accurate and explain a preference for this disc, where an extra shot of interpretative re-creativeness ultimately wins the day. The sound quality is spacious and pleasingly full bodied.



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Works Details

>Bartók, Béla : Duos (44) for 2 violins, Volumes 1-4, Sz. 98
  • Performers: András Keller (Violin); János Pilz (Violin)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 12 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1931

>Ligeti, György : Ballade and Dance, for 2 violins
  • Performers: András Keller (Violin); János Pilz (Violin)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1950

>Kurtág, György : Work(s) :: [Unspecified version] Ligatura - Message to Frances-Marie, Op. 31b - For Two Violins
  • Performers: András Keller (Violin); János Pilz (Violin)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 40 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern