Bartók: 44 Duos for two violins

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Béla Bartók's 44 Duos for two violins, Sz. 98 (1931), reflect his investigations in Hungarian folk music, and these arrangements of peasant melodies are grouped in four books of 14, 11, 11, and 8 pieces, respectively, covering a wide range of regional styles and forms. Though short, simply constructed, and easily accessible, these songs and dances nonetheless present special problems of interpretation and execution, and require the subtlety and control needed in such an exposed medium as the violin duet. Violinists András Kiss and Ferenc Balogh have a unified expression and a consistent approach to bowing and articulation that make their 1991 performance of these pieces seem carefully thought through and skillfully coordinated, though their fresh tone colors and natural dynamics make the music feel fluid and spontaneous. Of course, listeners who are familiar with Bartók's contemporaneous works may find these pieces to be a modest enterprise, especially in comparison with such masterpieces as the Piano Concerto No. 2, Cantata Profana, and the String Quartet No. 5. But because they represent Bartók's groundbreaking work in the field of ethnomusicology, the 44 Duos should be regarded as a significant achievement, rather than as the light bagatelles they somewhat deceptively appear to be. The sound is warm and resonant in this 1991 Hyperion release.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Duos (44) for 2 violins, Volumes 1-4, Sz. 98, BB 104
1
1:11
2
1:01
3
0:58
4
0:45
5
1:16
6
0:54
7
0:52
8
1:16
9
0:47
10
1:14
11
1:30
12
0:57
13
1:33
14
0:47
15
1:00
16
1:01
17
0:46
18
0:49
19
1:21
20
1:23
21
2:19
22
0:46
23
1:36
24
0:44
25
0:57
26
0:30
27
28
2:27
29
0:43
30
0:51
31
0:50
32
0:42
33
1:41
34
1:00
35
1:03
36
2:04
37
3:00
38
0:42
39
0:53
40
0:48
41
0:53
42
1:16
43
0:59
44
1:51
blue highlight denotes track pick