Béla Bartók

Brâul (Sash Dance), for piano (Romanian Folk Dances No. 2), Sz. 56/2, BB 68 2

    Description by Robert Cummings

    The original title of the Romanian Folk Dances was "Romanian Folk Dances from Hungary," but Bartók dropped the reference to Hungary when Romania annexed Transylvania (1918 - 1920). Whatever politics or ethnic factors lay behind that decision is of little consequence now, especially since Bartók felt a kinship with both Hungary and Romania and reflected that sentiment in his folk tune collecting and adaptations. This effort is an arrangement of dance tune, the dance being the Braul, for which a waistband or sash was used.

    That said, the waistband or sash must not have inspired rapid movement of the feet, at least as evidenced here. Braul's tune is lively, to be sure, but also hesitant in the way it pauses after each phrase, as if bracing for the next set of difficult steps or as if improvising as it goes along. This piece lasts a bit less than a half minute, and Bartók fills out that space with a rather straightforward, faithful version of the colorful melody, supplying it with original, if modest harmonies. This miniature is a gem that most will find charming.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Naxos 8509003
    2008 Clarinet Classics 53
    1999 Arion ARN 60115