Bartok

Full Name: Béla Viktor János Bartók
Pronunciation: Bar-tock
Era: Modern
Years active: 1881-1945

Number of compositions: Around 120
Number of symphonies: 0
Number of concertos: 6
Number of string quartets: 6

Style: Organic, folksy, schizophrenic. Bartok was really into folk music, and he incorporated a lot of the rhythms and melodies into his own compositions. At the same time he was pushing the envelope of normal tonality, so his music has a very 20th century feel to it. As you can imagine, the combination of modern and traditional styles leads to some interesting juxtapositions.

Concerto for Orchestra, 4th Movement

This is an example of how he uses folk rhythms, but with a hardcore modern sound. When I first started listening to classical music I found this kind of aggressive music a lot more appealing than Mozart and Beethoven and Bach. YMMV.

Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, 2nd Movement

You might recognize this from Being John Malkovich. Its the 3rd movement of the awesomely titled Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta. A celesta is that thing with a keyboard. Its like the bastard offspring of a Glockenspiel and a piano, instead of hammers hitting strings (like in a piano) they hit little metal plates.

Try Chicago Symphony Orchestra & Sir Georg Solti – Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra, Dance Suite & Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta

Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, 3rd Movement

Usually I dont have two movements from the same piece on these pages, but there is such variation in this piece that Ive made an exception. This is another of Bartoks pieces which has been used as a movie soundtrack, in the case in The Shining. I think it sounds like (super creepy) animals sneaking up on you through the forest at night. Ahhhh!

Try Chicago Symphony Orchestra & Sir Georg Solti – Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra, Dance Suite & Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta

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