Somehow, due to my personal deep respect and love for the folk music, and due to other circumstances, I have many lovers of folk music and especially neofolk among friends and acquaintances. Yet, the majority of neofolk music leaves a baffling impression and anxiety. The archaic folk music, as a music itself, if written in Western notation (when it is possible) is not that great. Yet, many more dimensions inherent in it - fatality, cultural information, mythological images, symbolism, cosmological events, life circle, rampage of life, exotic musical modes - makes it as profound as one can imagine. And a certain subtlety and tenderness as well as refined taste is needed if one wants to show his/her respect for the folk music in the manner of presenting own interpretation. Alas! Imprints from the aesthetics of neopaganism, rock music, jazz, techo music, if superimposed without tenderness, spoils the folk music, deletes all cultural dimensions, and leaves only notes and sounds. That is why, at least for me, the requirements for neofolk of handling folk music are especially high and demanding; in majority of cases, these are failed.
But luckily, there are other examples - A. Lyadov, N. Rimsky-Korsakov, B. Kutavicius, and many others. But I always dream that friends with deep interest in folk music discover the first example of this sort - Béla Bartók.
Folk music lives a life of its own, and the way Bartók chooses to reveal his passion for folk music is amazing to listen to and for studying as well. Rich harmony, techniques, textures, rhythms, re-composition, style, stylization, scale, amplitude of emotions - he does not subtract anything essential from the folk music. The cultural dimensions are sometimes put aside, but these are recovered via musical means.
And a collection of 44 duos for two violins is a great example of this sort. There is little to add to other reviewers. Sound quality is superb. Moreover, György Pauk plays on 1714 Massart Stradivarius, and Kazuki Sawa plays on 1732 Arkwright Joseph Guarnerius del Gesu violin. This disc is one of my favourites and most often played.