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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDH55149
Recording details: January 1990
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: November 1990
Total duration: 9 minutes 40 seconds

'An outstandingly successful and enjoyable issue' (Gramophone)

'A distinguished and well recorded issue' (The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)

'…this music has never sounded so seductive on disc … Everything is played with a glowing affection and naturalness' (International Record Review)

'Enthralling programme … a riveting account of Bartók's Sonata … fiery intensity, commanding technique and perfect intonation' (The Strad)

'Go out and buy a copy' (Classic CD)

Rhapsody for violin and piano No 1, Sz86

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Bartók regarded his two violin Rhapsodies as basically folk music arrangements, but their more elaborate forms are of his own composition. Both of them build on the standard gypsy csárdás sequence of lassú and friss (slow and fast) and use mostly Rumanian folk tunes from Transylvania, though with some added colouring from Hungarian and Ruthenian melodies. Otherwise they make quite a contrast, the first Rhapsody more swashbuckling in its opening lassú (perhaps telling a tall tale, judging by the ‘Hungarian sneezes’ of disbelief that punctuate it), the second Rhapsody more alluring and mysteriously passionate. However, the second Rhapsody is the wilder of the two in its friss, starting from a stamping barn dance and progressively daring itself to ever more hair-raising feats. In the character of folk music, Bartók found it hard to decide how to end either Rhapsody. Szigeti claimed that his manuscript copy of the first Rhapsody contains thirty-nine unpublished bars, and even the published score offers a choice of two endings (the present recording uses the first, and Bartók and Szigeti recorded the piece twice with the second). The second Rhapsody also began life with a longer ending, printed in early editions before being revised in 1945 to the version heard here.

from notes by Roy Howat © 1990

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