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String Quartet no. 5 (BB 110)

About the Composer

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Béla Bartók

This composer, who numbers among the most important musical figures in the first half of the twentieth century, is known principally for his research into Hungarian folk music, the elements of which he incorporated into his style. His broad oeuvre includes numerous works for orchestra, piano, and chamber ensembles, as well as choral music; songs with piano accompaniment; and an opera.

1881Born in Nagyszentmiklós on March 25. First piano instruction from his mother.
1893–ca. 1896Piano studies with László Erkel in Pressburg (Bratislava).
1899–1903Studies piano and composition at the Budapest Academy of Music. Symphonic poem “Kossuth” in 1903.
from 1905Together with Zóltan Kodály he begins scientific field research into Hungarian folk music and thereby refutes conventional notions. He becomes acquainted with the music of Debussy.
1905–07Suite No. 2, Op. 4, for small orchestra.
1907–34Professor of piano in Budapest.
1908–09“For Children,” 85 transcriptions of folk songs for piano, later only 79.
1915–17String Quartet No. 2, Op. 17, with percussive playing techniques.
1917Premiere of his ballet “The Wooden Prince.”
1918Premiere of “Bluebeard’s Castle,” Op. 11 (composed 1911), partially based on the sounds of French music.
1920Improvisations on Hungarian Peasant Songs, Op. 20.
1926Performance of the pantomime “The Miraculous Mandarin.” Piano cycle “Out of Doors.”
1926–39“Mikrokosmos” for piano (six volumes).
from 1934Editor of the complete edition of Hungarian folk music.
1936Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta as avant-garde work.
1937–38Concerto (No. 2) for violin and orchestra.
1940Emigrates to the United States.
1945Piano Concerto No. 3; his concerto for viola remains unfinished. Death in New York on September 26.

© 2003, 2010 Philipp Reclam jun. GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart

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