Bartok Solo Violin Sonata,Sz.117

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Rach3
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Bartok Solo Violin Sonata,Sz.117

Post by Rach3 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 4:03 pm

Had not heard this work for many years, and then only a couple of times, apparently did not make an impression. but in my old ( or older ) age does make an impression.Ordered from Presto Classical a download of that track from a Philips cd of solo works , recorded early in her career by Leila Josefowicz , whose playing I usually admire.

My interest sparked by this performance by 26-year old violinist Pieter van Loenen :

https://www.nporadio4.nl/concerten/8632 ... van-loenen

Lance
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Re: Bartok Solo Violin Sonata,Sz.117

Post by Lance » Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:59 pm

I first heard this on records performed by Yehudi Menuhin. Since then, there's been a huge number of recordings made, mostly by lesser-known violinists, but the list includes such luminaries as Nigel Kennedy, Gidon Kremer, Ivry Gitlis, Szymon Goldberg, Ruggiero Ricci, Viktoria Mullova, and as you indicated, and as you indicated, Leila Josefowicz. It's not a work that I listen to very often.
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John F
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Re: Bartok Solo Violin Sonata,Sz.117

Post by John F » Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:58 am

Yehudi Menuhin gave the world premiere in 1944 and Bartók dedicated the sonata to him. Menuhin recorded it in 1957 and apart from the special identification of the piece with him, I think it's a great performance.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ej7X0z4 ... -U45htnAaT

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z381VqbJ3z4

I hadn't listened to the music for many years. Hearing it now, I think it's a great piece of music, from Bartók's last year (it followed the Concerto for Orchestra). Sick as he was, Bartók had lost none of his creative energy.
John Francis

Rach3
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Re: Bartok Solo Violin Sonata,Sz.117

Post by Rach3 » Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:45 pm

John F wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:58 am
Sick as he was, Bartók had lost none of his creative energy.
Agreed. From another online group, here are liner notes from a 2012 recording by Barnabas Kelemen:
"One of the most important technical questions was the use of intervals smaller than the semitone, mainly quarter-tones, in the last movement, which after completing the composition, Bartók called mere “colouring”, and instead of which he also wrote down a simpler semitone version as an alternative solution. But undoubtedly, he would have liked to hear both versions before making a final decision. However, he was not in a hurry to publish, because in return for the 500 dollar commission Menuhin had asked for the exclusive right to perform the work for one year, instead of which, at the composer’s suggestion, they eventually agreed on two years. Thus, although the Solo sonata is Bartók’s last completely finished composition (the last bars of the Third piano concerto had to be completed by Tibor Serly in the orchestral score), the composer was not able to see the work published either. He had planned discussions with Menuhin of the final details for the end of 1945, but, sadly, these could not materialize because of his death on 26 September. Alongside other less significant details, Menuhin’s carefully edited edition sanctioned the semitone version of the last movement for decades. With very few exceptions, this is what violinists have played and recorded. Since the 1980s, several studies have examined the quarter-tone version and urged its publication, and as a result finally in 1994 the first “urtext” edition was published, prepared by Péter Bartók, the composer’s son. This at last gives the original version as the main text, and supplies the details later worked out by the composer as an alternative as a mere ossia. Although Menuhin’s edition is still a valid form of the work, this recording follows Péter Bartók’s edition."


The quartertones apparently appear just in the opening bars of the last Presto mov.

John F
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Re: Bartok Solo Violin Sonata,Sz.117

Post by John F » Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:02 pm

Thanks for that. Here's Kelemen playing the last movement in what I assume is the version with quarter tones. Can't say I hear a difference.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAFrpD1zBcY

$500 in 1943 would be about $7,300 in 2018. Doesn't seem like very much, perhaps, but since it was out of Menuhin's pocket, I have to be grateful for it.
John Francis

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