5 Nov 2019

BARTÓK: String Quartet No 1

From Music Alive, 8:05 pm on 5 November 2019

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Performed by the Brodsky Quartet at their 'Fugues' concert for CMNZ, Auckland Concert Chamber, 13 May 2019.

Brodsky Quartet

Brodsky Quartet Photo: Duncan Elliot Matthews

While he was composing this piece, Bela Bartók was also engaged in preparing an edition of Bach’s Well-tempered Clavier with its sequence of Preludes and Fugues. Throughout the quartet, he displays his fluency as a contrapuntal writer – although there isn’t any real fugal writing until we get to a section in the middle of the third movement.

We do hear his indebtedness to Hungarian folk music though. And the whole work is a journey from sombre reflection at the beginning through to exuberance at the end. Bartók’s colleague Zoltan Kodály called it a “return to life”.

Recorded by RNZ in the Concert Chamber of Auckland Town Hall, 13 May 2019
Producer: Tim Dodd; Engineer: Adrian Hollay