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The Two Romanian Dances (Két Román Tánc in Hungarian), Op. 8a, are a piano work written by Béla Bartók, based on Romanian folk music. Written in 1910, they date from the beginning of his interest in folk music — his first work showing strong folk influence, the String Quartet No. 1, is from just two years before. However, the Dances show that he has already seamlessly incorporated folk idioms into his musical language.
The first dance ( Allegro vivace ) is rhapsodic in form, though with a recurrent main theme. This theme, which provides the melodic, textural, and rhythmic foundations of the work, is first heard pianissimo in the murky depths of the keyboard. The middle section, Lento, presents an evocative modal melody against a various tremolo harmonies in the bass. This section fades away, and, after a long and increasingly frenzied crescendo, the main theme returns in triumphant fortissimo octaves. Unusually for Bartók, major and minor chords are used extensively in this piece.
The second dance (Poco allegro) begins with a brief introductory passage, which sets the mood of the piece — a strange mix of humour and severity. The main theme, based loosely on a Romanian jeering song, is presented three times in succession. After a violent transition, the material from the opening returns, though somewhat warped. The main theme returns, yet more frantic; after another brief interlude, it returns again, this time marked Più mosso, febrile (“more motion, feverishly”). The remainder of the piece is a mishmash of cheerful motifs showing Balinese influence, sudden contrasts which range from amusing to disconcerting, and majestic passages in double octaves. Although the form of this dance defies classification, it is nonetheless remarkably directed, unified, and satisfying.
The Concerto for Orchestra, Sz. 116, BB 123, is a five-movement orchestral work composed by Béla Bartók in 1943. It is one of his best-known, most popular, and most accessible works.
The String Quartet No. 4 by Béla Bartók was written from July to September 1928 in Budapest. It is one of six string quartets by Bartok.
Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, Sz. 106, BB 114 is one of the best-known compositions by the Hungarian composer Béla Bartók. Commissioned by Paul Sacher to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the chamber orchestra Basler Kammerorchester, the score is dated September 7, 1936.
Islamey: Oriental Fantasy, Op. 18, is a composition for piano by Russian composer Mily Balakirev, written in 1869.
The Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47, was written by Jean Sibelius in 1904, revised in 1905. It is his only concerto. It is symphonic in scope, with the solo violin and all sections of the orchestra being equal voices. An extended cadenza for the soloist takes on the role of the development section in the first movement.
Franz Schubert's Impromptus are a series of eight pieces for solo piano composed in 1827. They were published in two sets of four impromptus each: the first two pieces in the first set were published in the composer's lifetime as Op. 90; the second set was published posthumously as Op. 142 in 1839. The third and fourth pieces in the first set were published in 1857. The two sets are now catalogued as D. 899 and D. 935 respectively. They are considered to be among the most important examples of this popular early 19th-century genre.
Franz Liszt composed his Piano Concerto No. 1 in E♭ major, S.124 over a 26-year period; the main themes date from 1830, while the final version is dated 1849. The concerto consists of four movements and lasts approximately 20 minutes. It premiered in Weimar on February 17, 1855, with Liszt at the piano and Hector Berlioz conducting.
Sonatina, Sz. 55, BB. 69 is a piece for solo piano written in 1915 by Hungarian composer Béla Bartók. Initially entitled Sonatina on Romanian folk tunes, it is based on folk tunes Bartók collected in his neighbour country Romania, which, even though he proclaimed Hungarian folk music was clearly superior, was a direct source of inspiration all along his active years.
The Concerto in C minor for Piano, Trumpet, and String Orchestra, Op. 35, was completed by Dmitri Shostakovich in 1933. The concerto was an experimentation with a neo-baroque combination of instruments.
The Sonata for Solo Violin Sz. 117, BB 124, is a sonata for unaccompanied violin composed by Béla Bartók. It was premiered by Yehudi Menuhin, to whom it was dedicated, in New York on 26 November 1944.
Musica ricercata is a set of eleven pieces for piano by György Ligeti. The work was composed from 1951 to 1953, shortly after the composer began lecturing at the Budapest Academy of Music. The work premiered on 18 November 1969 in Sundsvall, Sweden. Although the ricercata is an established contrapuntal style, Ligeti's title should probably be interpreted literally as "researched music" or "sought music". This work captures the essence of Ligeti's search to construct his own compositional style ex nihilo, and as such presages many of the more radical directions Ligeti would take in the future.
Allegro barbaro, BB 63, composed in 1911, is one of Béla Bartók's most famous and frequently performed solo piano pieces. The composition is typical of Bartók's style, utilizing folk elements. The work combines Hungarian and Romanian scales; Hungarian peasant music is based on the pentatonic scale, while Romanian music is largely chromatic.
Contrasts is a 1938 composition scored for clarinet-violin-piano trio by Béla Bartók (1881–1945). It is based on Hungarian and Romanian dance melodies and has three movements with a combined duration of 17–20 minutes. Bartók wrote the work in response to a letter from violinist Joseph Szigeti, although it was officially commissioned by clarinetist Benny Goodman.
Out of Doors is a set of five piano solo pieces, Sz.. 81, BB 89, written by Béla Bartók in 1926. Out of Doors is among the very few instrumental compositions by Bartók with programmatic titles.
The three csárdás that Franz Liszt wrote in 1881–82 and 1884 are solo piano pieces based on the Hungarian dance form of the same name. Liszt treats the dance form itself much less freely than he did much earlier with the verbunkos in the Hungarian Rhapsodies, and the material itself remains more specifically Hungarian than gypsy in thematic material. Their spare lines, angular rhythms and advanced harmonies show these pieces to be direct ancestors of the compositions of Béla Bartók. Because of these attributes, the csárdás are considered by Liszt scholars among the more interesting of the composer's late output.
The Suite, Op. 14, Sz. 62, BB 70 is a piece for solo piano written by Béla Bartók. It was written in February 1916, published in 1918, and debuted by the composer on April 21, 1919, in Budapest. The Suite is one of Bartók's most significant works for piano, only comparable with his 1926 Piano Sonata. Though much of Bartók's work makes frequent use of Eastern European folk music, this suite is one of the few pieces without melodies of folk origin. However, Romanian, Arabic, and North African rhythmic influences can still be found in some movements. Originally intending the suite to be a five-movement work, Bartók later decided against the idea and discarded the second movement, the Andante, which was published only posthumously in the October 1955 issue of Új Zenei Szemle.
Rhapsody No. 1, Sz. 86, 87, and 88, BB 94 is the first of two virtuoso works for violin and piano, written by Béla Bartók in 1928 and subsequently arranged in 1929 for violin and orchestra, as well as for cello and piano. It is dedicated to Hungarian virtuoso violinist Joseph Szigeti, a close friend of Bartók, who gave the first performance of the orchestra version in Königsberg on 1 November 1929, with Hermann Scherchen conducting the orchestra.
The Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33, for cello and orchestra was the closest Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky ever came to writing a full concerto for cello and orchestra. The style was inspired by Mozart, Tchaikovsky's role model, and makes it clear that Tchaikovsky admired the Classical style very much. However, the Theme is not Rococo in origin, but actually an original theme in the Rococo style.
Eight Improvisations on Hungarian Peasant Songs, Op. 20, Sz. 74, BB 83, also known as Improvisations on Hungarian Peasant Songs or simply as Improvisations, is a composition for solo piano by Hungarian composer Béla Bartók. It was finished in 1920.
The Concerto for Piano, Violin, and Strings in D minor, MWV O4, also known as the Double Concerto in D minor, was written in 1823 by Felix Mendelssohn when he was 14 years old. This piece is Mendelssohn's fourth work for a solo instrument with orchestral accompaniment, preceded by a Largo and Allegro in D minor for Piano and Strings MWV O1, the Piano Concerto in A Minor MWV O2, and the Violin Concerto in D minor MWV O3. Mendelssohn composed the work to be performed for a private concert on May 25, 1823 at the Mendelssohn home in Berlin with his violin teacher and friend, Eduard Rietz. Following this private performance, Mendelssohn revised the scoring, adding winds and timpani and is possibly the first work in which Mendelssohn used winds and timpani in a large work. A public performance was given on July 3, 1823 at the Berlin Schauspielhaus. Like the A minor piano concerto (1822), it remained unpublished during Mendelssohn's lifetime and it wasn't until 1999 when a critical edition of the piece was available.