Béla Bartók

Romanian Folk Dances (6) (Román népi táncok), for piano, Sz. 56, BB 68

    Description by Robert Cummings

    As many listeners are aware, Bartók was not only a devotee of folk music, but was one of the foremost experts of his time in Eastern European folk music, collecting over 6,000 folk melodies and arranging many of them for various instruments and ensembles. His Six Romanian Folk Dances are fairly straightforward renderings of their folk tune derivatives. Thus, as he did in his large collection for piano, For Children (1908-1910), Bartók elaborated little on the source materials, fashioning each piece to be a simple miniature of a half-minute to a minute in length. For the Folk Dances, Bartók used seven melodies from fiddle tunes (though the score is divided into only six sections). The tunes were collected between 1910 and 1912 in Maros-Torda, Bihar, Torda-Aranyos, and Torontal. Bartók was drawn to Romanian folk music, instrumental music in particular, because of its timbral diversity -- Romanian folk dance tunes are often performed by ensembles comprised of diverse instrument combinations -- and its variety and quality of tunes. For Bartók in 1915, these Romanian instrumental tunes offered greater possibilities than the instrumental folk tunes from his own native Hungary, as attested by the number of his works based on Romanian themes.

    The first of the Romanian Folk Dances is "Stick Dance," a colorful, lively piece whose infectious buoyancy and carefree gait exude delightful Romanian flavors. The ensuing "Sash Dance" has a start-and-stop manner throughout its half minute, the bouncy music pausing to catch its breath after each phrase. The third item, "In One Spot," combines a simple pulse in the bass with an exotic theme in the upper register, the whole yielding a gypsy-like character of striking quality.

    Number four in the collection is "Horn Dance," a slow piece whose childlike simplicity (both in rhythm and theme) conveys an innocence in its pastoral, somewhat wistful melody. The next piece, "Romanian Polka," brims with ethnic color and merrymaking in its lively rhythm and peasant-like dance theme. The only regret the listener might have here is that the composer did not go on a bit longer than the mere half-minute he spent, in light of the colorful and utterly infectious foot-stomping material. The last of the pieces in the set is "Fast Dance, which features two themes, each of similar character. They are both breathless in their pacing, each conveying a sense of unbridled celebration.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Jocul cu bâta (Stick Dance)
    2. Braul (Sash Dance)
    3. Pe loc (In One Spot)
    4. Buciumeana (Horn Dance)
    5. Poarg romaneasca (Romanian Polka)
    6. Maruntelul (Fast Dance)

    Appears On

    Year Title / Performer Label / Catalog # AllMusic Rating
    2019
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4837289
    2018
    ABC Classics
    4829892
    2018
    ABC Classics
    ABC 4829864
    2018
    ArcoDiva
    UP 0208
    2018
    Genuin
    GEN 18604
    2018
    Doremi Records
    DHR 8053
    2017
    Hungaroton
    HCD 32793
    2017
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4796888
    2017
    Channel Classics
    CCS 38717
    2016
    IBA [Idil Biret Archives] / Naxos
    8501504
    2016
    Orlando Records
    OR 0023
    2016
    CuGate Classics
    CGC 012
    2016
    Hyperion
    CDA 68133
    2016
    Hungaroton
    HCD 3279091
    2016
    Decca
    4789311
    2016
    Haenssler / Hänssler Classic
    HC 16020
    2016
    SWR Music
    19003
    2016
    Warner Classics
    2564628549
    2016
    Exton
    71
    2016
    Avie
    AV 2367
    2016
    Sony Classical / Sony Music Distribution
    88875183402
    2016
    RCA Red Seal
    88985321742
    2016
    Warner Classics
    0825646777051
    2015
    Centaur Records
    CRC 34013402
    2015
    Melodiya
    MELCD 1002300
    2015
    Ars Produktion / Ars Produktion
    ARS 38182
    2015
    Artek
    AR 00642
    2014
    Piano 21
    P 21052 N
    2014
    Deutsche Grammophon / Eloquence
    4807100
    2014
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4791069
    2014
    Deutsche Grammophon
    B 001975802
    2014
    Harmonia Mundi
    HMC 902163
    2014
    Lindoro
    LDO 3014
    2014
    Naïve
    NC 40036
    2014
    Supraphon
    SU 41622
    2014
    Gall (formerly Gallo) / Gallo
    CD 1415
    2014
    Erato
    2564624223
    2013
    Various Artists
    K-Tel
    82465
    2013
    Steinway & Sons
    30018
    2013
    Warner Classics
    5099961539921
    2013
    Chandos
    CHAN 10752
    2013
    Entertainment Group
    11606
    2013
    IBA [Idil Biret Archives]
    8571296
    2013
    Maguelone
    MAG 111174
    2013
    Brilliant Classics
    94726
    2012
    Warner Classics
    2564660542
    2012
    Warner Classics
    2012
    K2 HD / Sony Classical
    KHD 9863CD
    2012
    Brilliant Classics
    8402
    2012
    Piano Classics
    PCL 0035
    2011
    Harmonia Mundi
    9151094
    2011
    Decca
    2011
    Summit Records
    DCD 571
    2011
    Deutsche Grammophon
    15154
    2011
    Deutsche Grammophon
    477 876-6
    2011
    Ars Produktion
    ARS 38094
    2011
    Meerenai Shim
    2010
    Various Artists
    BD Music / Zebralution
    2010
    Decca
    4782364
    2010
    Decca
    2010
    Doremi Records
    7920
    2010
    Solo Musica
    130
    2010
    Gramola
    98903
    2010
    Denon Records
    2010
    Blue Griffin Recording / Richter Uzur Duo
    205
    2010
    Various Artists
    Documents / Membran
    232598
    2009
    Decca
    001256702
    2009
    Arbiter
    2011
    2009
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2009
    Denon Records
    2009
    NSS Music
    2009
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099926413
    2008
    Hungaroton
    32527
    2008
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099921757
    2008
    Chandos
    10493
    2008
    Blue Griffin Recording
    149
    2007
    Dux Records
    590
    2007
    Rhino
    2006
    Various Artists
    Living Era
    AJC8562
    2006
    Warner Classics
    2006
    EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics
    0946350869
    2006
    Endeavour
    1015
    2006
    Eroica Distribution
    3273
    2005
    Oxingale Records
    OXI-2007
    2005
    Music USA
    leniadochira1
    2005
    Raven
    780
    2005
    Philips
    000531102
    2004
    Eroica Distribution
    3136
    2004
    Philips
    4761657
    2004
    Philips
    2004
    Harmonia Mundi
    901785
    2004
    Various Artists
    Deutsche Grammophon
    000193202
    2004
    Dal Segno
    006
    2004
    Romeo Records
    7227
    2004
    Gallo
    1110
    2003
    Vox
    3610
    2003
    Hyperion
    55149
    2002
    Naxos
    554718
    2002
    Various Artists
    ASV
    8502
    2001
    Ambitus
    97966
    2001
    Hyperion
    67228
    2001
    Various Artists
    Naxos
    8 556693
    2000
    Various Artists
    Hungaroton
    41002
    2000
    Eroica Distribution
    3014
    2000
    Pear Records
    PR 32701
    2000
    L'empreinte digitale
    13122
    2000
    Decca
    1999
    ATMA Classique
    22187
    1999
    Chandos
    9761
    1999
    Philips
    446368
    1999
    Philips
    434104
    1999
    Pavane
    7415
    1999
    Philips
    454987
    1999
    Pearl
    0055
    1999
    Gasparo Records
    2005
    1999
    Live Classics
    192
    1999
    EMI Music Distribution
    72527
    1999
    Skarbo
    3891
    1999
    Harmonia Mundi
    290888
    1999
    Philips
    456874
    1998
    Koch Discover International
    DICD920491
    1998
    Point Classics
    2672322
    1998
    Bluebell
    3007
    1998
    N2K Records / N-Coded Music
    2100282
    1995
    Albany Music Distribution
    046
    1995
    Hungaroton
    31604
    1995
    Vanguard
    8087
    1995
    Sony Music Distribution
    68275
    1994
    Globe Records
    5111
    1994
    Hungaroton
    1232628
    1993
    Centaur Records
    2061
    1993
    BIS
    182
    1993
    Harmonia Mundi
    1901094
    1993
    Hungaroton
    31036
    1993
    Denon Records
    7092
    1992
    ASV
    687
    1992
    Denon Records
    7813
    1990
    ASV
    CDDCA692
    Dante
    014
    Manu Music Productions
    1519
    Tonada
    901
    EMI Music Distribution
    55031
    San Francisco Conservatory of
    7700
    Brilliant Classics
    8402/6
    Ades
    20374
    Ades
    141022
    Schwann
    11050
    Eroica Distribution
    3080
    Romlin Productions