Rumanian Folk Dance No. 1 for violin and piano (Joc cu Bâta)

Performer and production credits:
Karol Bennett, soprano; Leone Buyse, flute; Hannah Holman, cello; Susan Oltsman Koozin, narrator; Tricia Park, violin; Rod Waters, piano; Michael Webster, clarinet; Blake Wilkins, percussion.
Bill Klemm, videographer and editor; Kate Dawson, director.

As described by musicologist André Gertler, Bartok's set of Rumanian folk dances were collected "from peasants and Gypsies during his pioneering ethno-musicological field trips through Hungary in 1910-14. [The] works were first arranged for solo piano, though Bartók would have originally heard these tunes played on fiddle, shepherd's flute, or bagpipe." Joc cu Bâta is from Maros-Torda county of Hungary.

In Bartok's transcription, the first half of the tune is played and then repeated, as is the second half. Although Bartok's accompaniment is meant to be relatively inconspicuous, he carefully heightens each repetition, making the second statement of each half more expressive and dramatic.

Bela Bartok (1881-1945) is one of the towering masters of 20th-century music. Bartok was born in Hungary and he emigrated to the United States in 1940 when he was forced to flee the Nazis. He was a pioneer in the recording and analysis of folk music, transcribing many Hungarian, Rumanian and Turkish songs. His own music combines this interest in folk music with a rigorous, thoughtful modernism, producing a unique and extremely influential body of work. He was never fully recognized in the United States during his lifetime: Columbia University hired him as an ethnomusicologist, not a composer, and he died of leukemia in near poverty.

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