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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 : Duos (44) for 2 violins, Volumes 1-4, Sz. 98
>     Ruthenian 'kolomejka', Sz. 98/35
>     Dance from Máramaros, Sz. 98/32
>     Cushion Dance
>     Hungarian Song 1
>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 : 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 (Jatek), 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 (Forgatos), 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 : Jocul cu bata (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 : Duos (44) for 2 violins, Volumes 1-4, Sz. 98
>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 : 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 (Jatek), 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 (Forgatos), 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 : Jocul cu bata (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

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Hungarian Sketches, BB 103 :: An Evening in the Village
  • Performers: Ross Martin (Guitar); Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ben Sollee (Cello)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 55 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1931

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Duos (44) for 2 violins, Volumes 1-4, Sz. 98 :: Ruthenian 'kolomejka', Sz. 98/35
  • Performers: Ross Martin (Guitar); Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ben Sollee (Cello)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 51 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1931

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Five-Tone Scale, for piano (Mikrokosmos Vol. 3/78), Sz. 107/3/78, BB 105/78
  • Performers: Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ben Sollee (Cello); Ross Martin (Guitar)
  • 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); Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ben Sollee (Cello)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 22 sec.

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Duos (44) for 2 violins, Volumes 1-4, Sz. 98 :: Dance from Máramaros, Sz. 98/32
  • Performers: Ross Martin (Guitar); Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ben Sollee (Cello)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1931

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm, BB 105 :: Dance no 3 (Mikrokosmos #150)
  • Performers: Ryan Drickey (Violin); Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ben Sollee (Cello); Ross Martin (Guitar); Jake Schepps (Banjo)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 44 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1926-1939

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Stars, Stars, Brightly Shine, for piano (For Children Vol. 2/33), Sz. 42/2/33, BB 53/33
  • Performers: Ross Martin (Guitar); Jake Schepps (Banjo); Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ben Sollee (Cello); Ryan Drickey (Violin)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1908-1910

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Play (Játék), duo for 2 violins (44 Duos Vol. 1/9), Sz. 98/9, BB 104/9
  • Performers: Ross Martin (Guitar); Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ben Sollee (Cello)
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1931

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Wedding Song (Lakodalmas), duo for 2 violins (44 Duos Vol. 1/13), Sz. 98/13, BB 104/13
  • Performers: Ross Martin (Guitar); Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ben Sollee (Cello)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1931

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Romanian Whirling Dance (Forgatós), duo for 2 violins (44 Duos Vol. 4/38), Sz. 98/38, BB 104/38
  • Performers: Ross Martin (Guitar); Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ben Sollee (Cello)
  • Notes: Composition written: 1931.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1931

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Romance :: "I Know a Little Forest", for piano (For Children Vol. 4/34), Sz. 42/4/34, BB 53/76
  • Performers: Ryan Drickey (Violin); Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ben Sollee (Cello); Ross Martin (Guitar); Jake Schepps (Banjo)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 48 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1908-1910

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Play (Játék), duo for 2 violins (44 Duos Vol. 1/9), Sz. 98/9, BB 104/9
  • Performers: Ross Martin (Guitar); Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ben Sollee (Cello)
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1931

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Romanian Christmas Carols, for piano Series I, Sz. 57, BB 67
  • Performers: Grant Gordy (Guitar); Ross Martin (Guitar); Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ben Sollee (Cello)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Christmas
  • Written: 1915

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Duos (44) for 2 violins, Volumes 1-4, Sz. 98 :: Cushion Dance
  • Performers: Ross Martin (Guitar); Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ben Sollee (Cello)
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1931

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm, BB 105 :: Dance no 2 (Mikrokosmos #149)
  • Performers: Ross Martin (Guitar); Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ben Sollee (Cello)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 9 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1926-1939

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Hungarian Sketches, BB 103 :: Melody
  • Performers: Ross Martin (Guitar); Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ben Sollee (Cello)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1931

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Duos (44) for 2 violins, Volumes 1-4, Sz. 98 :: Hungarian Song 1
  • Performers: Ross Martin (Guitar); Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ben Sollee (Cello)
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1931

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm, BB 105 :: Dance no 4 (Mikrokosmos #153)
  • Performers: Grant Gordy (Guitar); Ross Martin (Guitar); Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ben Sollee (Cello)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1926-1939

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Jocul cu bâta (Stick Dance), for piano (Romanian Folk Dances no 1), Sz. 56/1, BB 68 1
  • Performers: Ross Martin (Guitar); Jake Schepps (Banjo); Ryan Drickey (Violin); Matt Flinner (Mandolin); Ben Sollee (Cello)
  • Notes: Composition written: 1915.
  • Running Time: 4 min. 44 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1915