Saturday Morning Listening: Bartok’s Folk Melodies

Good morning!  A little listening for you to enjoy at your leisure this weekend.  Bartok collected folk songs from various regions of Eastern Europe – Hungarian, Slovakian, Rumanian, and Bulgarian.  The For Children, Vol. I, which we are playing currently, is based on Hungarian folk melodies.  Here’s are two works based on Rumanian and Bulgarian tunes.  Enjoy!

1.  Bartok’s Rumanian Folk Dances

This is a charming set of 6 dances for violin and piano that I had the pleasure of performing long ago. They are so full of character and verve and I recall the violinist and I had a fun time bringing them to life. They’re so easy on the ears, too!  Bartok wrote a version for  piano which I have taught often to students middle school age thru college.  You can pull a few from the set and create your own teaching suite.  I’ve never had a student not like these pieces.  Enjoy!

2.  Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm

This is Nos. 148-153 from Vol. 6 of Bartok’s Mikrokosmos, a set of 153 progressive piano pieces (1926-38).  The set is the most popular in Vol. 6 and works well for high school and college-level students.  Bartok combines Bulgarian rhythms in two, three, and four-note sets and weaves them in masterfully.  You could teach a few from the set, but it works so much more effectively as a set of six.  Lots of rhythmic appeal!

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